LETTER: Government is pushing cannabis legalization down our throats

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Lawrence Norbert,
Justice Co-ordinator
Tsiigehtchic Justice Program

Dear editor,
I was present at the two proposed cannabis legalization consultation meetings here in Tsiighetchic and at no time did any of our residents ‘demand’ a local cannabis store, as indicated by Kam Lake MLA Kieron Testart in your May 7th story.

My questions at the last meeting centred around:

The chilling novelty of Environmental Health Officers being designated as peace officers (to enforce laws for smoking cannabis in public) with the powers and protections provided to a peace officer under the Criminal Code and the common law;

The resources necessary to enforce community cannabis restrictions or prohibitions, when as a prohibited community, Tsiighetchic can’t even enforce its liquor restrictions because we don’t have a permanent RCMP detachment;

The use of Drug Recognition Experts to detect driver impairment by drugs when the nearest RCMP detachment is a 45-minute drive to Fort McPherson (where I’m sure they don’t have a DRE) or a 1.5-hour drive to Inuvik;

The inter-provincial/territorial transport of cannabis, e.g. Yukon into the NWT via the Dempster Highway, or by airline travel; and

The broad sweeping powers contemplated under proposed sections 42 (powers to enter, other powers, individual accompanying inspector, entering private property), 45(1) (search without warrant), and 68 (circumstantial evidence and inference of fact).

I don’t know if it’s only me, but does it seem like the Trudeau government is pushing cannabis legalization (and pipelines) down our throats but dragging its feet on, say, boil water advisories and reforms to child welfare services, even funding for restorative / community justice, let alone more monies for RCMP services?

I speak from the viewpoint of a community without permanently-staffed nursing and RCMP services, mental health or community counsellor, or even a daycare for working and single parents … but heck, that’s OK – just don’t Bogart that joint.

Hai’