Inuvik needs to talk about cannabis legislation

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At the town council meeting April 9, there was some discussion about how cannabis legislation in Inuvik should be dealt with.

Should people be able to smoke cannabis in public, or only in their homes?

Should they be allowed to smoke in public, but not near facilities such as the library or the recreation centre?

Most importantly, who will be responsible for enforcing the rules surrounding cannabis in Inuvik?

All of these questions were raised, but no concrete answers or decisions were brought up.

This could be because of a lack of discussion about what people in Inuvik want to do about cannabis legislation.

There have been a few meetings and public discussions in town about what will happen when recreational cannabis is legalized this summer, but given the uncertainty at the town council meeting on Monday, it’s not enough.

On April 30, the Government of the Northwest Territories is holding a public meeting in Inuvik to seek public input on Bill 6: Cannabis Legalization and Regulation Implementation Act.

Council discussed having a Town of Inuvik representative present at the April 30 meeting to present the town’s interests.

However, before this can happen, there needs to be more discussion within Inuvik about what residents want to see in terms of cannabis legislation.

The April 30 public meeting is fast approaching, but Inuvik needs to make its intentions regarding municipal cannabis legislation clear beforehand in order to properly communicate its priorities to the territorial government.

Inuvik is not the sleepy Arctic town that some seem to think it is, so getting all these ducks in a row by April 30 is a big ask.

At the very least, I hope the town will hold some of its own public consultation on what rules residents want to see before cannabis is legalized this summer.

It will be easier to enforce rules from the beginning through public awareness campaigns than to scramble to educate the public about the rules after recreational cannabis users have already started to form habits.