Yukon Territory


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.


Yukon getting $2.3M from federal gov't for police training, drug-testing devices

Yukon is getting federal money for drug-testing devices and for training for officers to test drivers for drug impairment, the federal government announced on Tuesday.

The funding, about $2.3 million, comes from a pot of $81 million previously announced for public and road safety.

"This is about giving the right tools to the RCMP so that individuals who choose to operate a motor vehicle after they've consumed some sort of drug or alcohol will be caught," Tracy-Anne McPhee, the territory's minister of justice, said at the announcement in Whitehorse.

The drug-testing devices include the Drager DrugTest 5000 and another called the SoToxa.


Yukon's 1st private pot retailer now open, in time for 4/20

The first privately-owned cannabis retail store in the North opened on Thursday morning in downtown Whitehorse.

Triple J's Canna Space received its licence from Yukon's Cannabis Licensing Board on Wednesday, the day owners Jordi Mikeli-Jones and Jeremy Jones originally hoped to open.

But they were all smiles on Wednesday as they received a copy of their licence, and added some finishing touches to their Wood Street store.

Their goal was to open in time for Saturday, which is 4/20 — a day that's become associated with celebrations of cannabis culture. 


Yes, you can smoke pot at your Yukon campsite this summer

Campers making use of Yukon territorial parks could be smelling something different around their campfires this summer — marijuana.

The Department of Environment says campers will be allowed to smoke cannabis on their individual sites.

"We're following the same approach as we do to liquor," said Mike Etches, director of Yukon Parks. 

"So, you can consume liquor on your campsite, you can consume cannabis on your campsite." 

But he says marijuana can't be consumed in public areas in the territory's 42 campgrounds.

Etches also says that complaints about marijuana use will be handled the same way parks staff deal with alcohol-related complaints, such as excessive noise, underage users and use in prohibited areas.


Yukon has 'begun to displace the black market,' as legal cannabis sales top $2M

The Yukon government's cannabis sales have taken a substantial bite out of the local black market, according to the minister responsible for the territory's liquor corporation.

"Sales in the Yukon have now broken $2 million," said John Streicker.

"We know that by legalizing cannabis, we have begun to displace the black market. And that is one of our main goals."

Streicker was responding to questions in the Legislative Assembly from NDP Leader Liz Hanson, who asked whether the government was tracking illicit cannabis sales to confirm the impact of legalization.


Youth workshop in Ulukhaktok to focus on safe partying

A Yukon organization is headed to Ulukhaktok, N.W.T., on Tuesday to put on a workshop for young people that includes a full day on safe partying.

BYTE-Empowering Youth's two-day workshop called "MOVE! Youth Ending Violence" offers young people ways to address various issues in their community.

"It's going to very beneficial to our young adults that are in the community, as the community has been having a problem with alcohol for a bit now," said Derek Squirrel, recreation co-ordinator for the hamlet of Ulukhaktok.

"It's going to be nice to bring the youth in to focus on the issues of alcohol, and marijuana, now that it is legal."


No licenses for private pot sales until zoning is approved

Although the Yukon Liquor Corporation has begun accepting applications for private cannabis retail sales, none of those licenses can be granted outside the Marwell-area until the City of Whitehorse works out where those shops can and cannot be in the downtown core.

Marwell is currently the only area in Whitehorse zoned for retail pot sales, which is where the government-run pot shop has set up. City council will be considering a bylaw which would allow private cannabis retail sales in the downtown area at the Feb. 25 regular council meeting.

If it passes first reading, a newspaper ad regarding the zoning changes will need to be published March 1 and March 8, followed by a public hearing on March 25 and a report to council April 1.


Whitehorse council considers allowing pot shops in the downtown core

City staff are recommending privately-owned cannabis shops be allowed in Whitehorse’s downtown core, including on Main Street, council heard at the Feb. 18 standing committees meeting.

In 2018, council created a new type of zoning – “Retail Sales, Restricted” – specifically to handle the sale of marijuana and related products. At the time it was implemented it was limited to the Marwell area, where the government-owned pot shop has already opened.


Legal pot in Yukon: What we know, and what we don't

The federal government says cannabis will be legal later this summer. But how legal?

If the federal government's plans come to pass, Yukon will join the rest of Canada later this summer in implementing new marijuana laws.

While many people expect it will then be easier to purchase and use marijuana, it won't exactly be a free-for-all. The cannabis industry will be far more regulated than alcohol, for instance.

Here are some of the knowns and unknowns about Yukon's plans for legal pot. 

How legal is it?

Yukon's Cannabis Control and Regulation Act will allow people to legally use marijuana products in their homes or the homes of others who have consented to the use — but nowhere else.


Yukon sets marijuana price at $8 per gram, announces lone retail location

The Yukon minister in charge of marijuana says the government hopes to displace more of the illegal market by setting the base price for pot at $8 per gram.

John Streicker, the minister responsible for Yukon Liquor Corp., says in a news release that the government has secured its sole retail location and entered into a second supply agreement. 

Streicker says those actions will ensure Yukon residents have access to cannabis when it becomes legal.

When Canada's finance ministers met last December, they pegged the cost of marijuana at about $10 per gram and the federal government agreed to give provinces and territories 75 per cent of the tax revenues.


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