Northwest Territories


Experts and advocates skeptical pot conviction pardons will benefit northerners

Canadians with simple cannabis possession convictions will be eligible for record suspensions, but advocates and experts say it won't be so easy.

Bill C-93 came into force this month, and allows people to get fast-tracked record suspensions at no cost. A record suspension prevents a criminal record or pardon from appearing in the National Repository of Criminal Records.

The legislation waives the previous $631 application fee and ends the application wait period of up to 10 years. 

"What it doesn't get rid of, is the lead-up costs," said Samantha McAleese, a PhD candidate in sociology at Carleton University who researches recent changes to Canada's pardon system.


Yellowknife chef becomes nationally certified cannabis sommelier

A Yellowknife chef says he's the first nationally certified cannabis sommelier in the N.W.T.

Robin Wasicuna recently completed a two-level course on the subject and said he wanted to learn more as the sale of edible cannabis products will be legal in Canada in mid-December. 

"It's a lot knowledge crammed into two days, you learn quite a bit of stuff," he said.

"I can look at any bud of a cannabis flower now and just by looking at it, touching it and smelling it, I can tell you whether that plant was grown at a high elevation or a low elevation, whether it comes from the southern hemisphere or the northern hemisphere and what the genealogy of that plant is." 


Marijuana legalization sparks concerns about DUIs, enforcement for McHenry County police chiefs

Police chiefs in McHenry County have concerns about residents driving under the influence and how to properly enforce the law now that Illinois is poised to become the 11th state in the country to legalize recreational marijuana.

Since marijuana first was legalized in Colorado in January 2014, the state has collected about $6.4 billion in total sales, according to data from the Colorado Department of Revenue.

Conversely – despite downturns in a number of marijuana-related crimes – traffic fatalities involving a driver who tested positive for cannabis compounds increased from 55 in 2013 to 139 in 2017, according to a 2018 report from the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice’s Office of Research and Statistics.


Yellowknife city council talks cannabis sales zoning by-law

Yellowknifers are getting closer to legally buying cannabis products somewhere besides the liquor store.

At a city council meeting Monday, councillors discussed the regulatory framework for retail cannabis sales. Recreational cannabis became legal in the Northwest Territories on Oct. 17, following federal legislation, but the uptown liquor store is only retail location in the city. 

That framework could include a 100-meter buffer zone between shops selling cannabis and certain areas, such as elementary, junior and high schools, the Fieldhouse, the Yellowknife aquatic centre and arena, Stanton Hospital, medical centres, and daycares.

This map shows where cannabis could not be sold if the buffer zone is approved:


Some in N.W.T. still waiting for green light on new cannabis stores

Wednesday marks six months since cannabis was legalized in Canada. At least one entrepreneur in the Northwest Territories hoped to be selling cannabis in a retail location by now, but he's not.

"April 17th, they were supposed to start handing out licences, we thought — or we hoped — in the city [Yellowknife], but nobody seems to know," said Luke Wood, president of Releaf NT.

"It could be months away yet."

Releaf NT is a cannabis accessory shop that opened last weekend in Yellowknife. Wood said the company has applied to sell cannabis and filed an expression of interest to do so with the territorial government, but they are still waiting to hear what their next step will be.


Cost of cannabis up in Canada, NWT since legalization: Stat Can

The price of cannabis in the Northwest Territories and across Canada has risen since legalization says Statistics Canada.

A Stat Can report states the average price of legal and illegal cannabis has risen from $6.85/gram to to $8.05/gram after legalization.

In the Northwest Territories, a gram of cannabis cost an average $12.71 before legalization. Consumers are now paying $14.45/gram. This is a close to $2 – over 13 per cent – increase.

The NWT has the highest price of cannabis after legalization across the country, however, there is no post-legalization price for Nunavut as no answers were submitted. Nunavut had the highest pre-legalization average price of $15.24/gram.


What you need to know to start a legal cannabis grow-op

If Yellowknife's Jason Harker is successful in his quest to get a licence to produce cannabis, he'll become one of the first people to enter the industry in the Northwest Territories, if not the entire North. CBC News looked into what exactly a person needs to do in order to receive approval to run a grow-op in Canada.

What do I need to do to get licensed?

Shirley Toms, a regulatory consultant who works for Cannabis Compliance Inc., compares the process to a "4D matrix." Here's what's in that matrix:


A cannabis grow-op could be coming to Yellowknife

A proposed cannabis grow-op in Yellowknife got a warm reception from city councillors on Monday.

"You have somebody who wants to actually produce something that will be sold in the territory, that's a rarity up here. This should be applauded," Coun. Niels Konge said.

The warehouse facility would be located in the Engle Business District at 92 Falcon Road, west of the Yellowknife Airport.

Jordan Harker, the man behind the pitch, said the business is not affiliated with growers in southern Canada.

"We're looking at about 10 to 12 full-time jobs with probably 15 to 25 part-time jobs," he told city council during a committee meeting on Monday.

"It's our goal to be competitive with pricing."


Weed, roads, shelters and employment top of mind after N.W.T. budget revealed

Money in the latest budget that's allocated to go to five shelters in the N.W.T. will go a long way to help people in need, says the executive director of the local YWCA.

Lyda Fuller was at the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday to hear the finance minister lay out the 2019-2020 operating budget. The Northwest Territories government expects to spend about $1.87 billion, slightly more than it brings in, over the next fiscal year.

The budget allocated $4.92 million to address the needs of vulnerable persons. Fuller says that includes an additional $500,000 to five family violence shelters in the territory.


Ban on 'intoxicants' will keep legal cannabis off Northwest Territories reserve

With cannabis legalization on the way, communities across the Northwest Territories have a decision to make — will they hold a vote to ban cannabis after more than 90 years of prohibition ends?

On K'atl'odeeche First Nation territory, however, where intoxicants have been illegal since the 1980s, community members have the opposite choice to make: will they repeal their prohibition for Canada's newest legal drug?

The K'atl'odeeche First Nation Reserve is one of six dry communities in the N.W.T. Under a section of the Indian Act, First Nations can prohibit the sale and consumption of all intoxicants on their territory.

For K'atl'odeeche Chief Roy Fabian, that law includes cannabis by default.


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