Marijuana legalization meeting draws big crowd, lots of questions, in Inuvik
Quality of cannabis, impaired driving and impacts on the workplace discussed
A crowd of people loaded with questions and curiosity about marijuana legalization packed an information session in Inuvik on Monday, pushing the meeting beyond its two-hour time-frame.
Jennifer, who declined to give her last name, says one of her main concerns is the quality of the cannabis.
"I'd like to know what ingredients would be present, say for example with a packet of cigarettes, you flip it to the side and you know what exactly you are smoking," she said.
"I want to know what's in there."
She was one of about 20 people who showed up to the session put on by the territorial government.
The public feedback will be used to help the government of the Northwest Territories draft its cannabis legislation.
The federal government is legalizing cannabis by July 2018 but leaving it up to the provincial and territorial governments to implement their own laws.
"My hopes is just that this would all, of course, become legal smoothly," Jennifer added, noting her 17-year-old son was prescribed increasing dosages of anti-depressants by doctors until he was introduced to marijuana.
Now he's off Prozac and his schooling and social confidence have improved.
"I think it has impacted him in a very positive manner," Jennifer said.
Sheila O'kane, who was also at the meeting, said she supports cannabis use for medical reasons but is less in favour of legalizing it for recreational use.
"I believe that marijuana does have good medicinal properties and I think any medicine needs to be respected. It's not just for fooling around with," she said. "Recreational marijuana, it's a bit of an abuse."
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Other topics debated were concerns about impaired driving and impacts on the workplace. There was so much discussion that the meeting went longer than scheduled.
The next public session will be in Tsiigehtchic on Tuesday. Meetings are planned for several other locations this month as well, including Hay River, Behchoko, Fort Smith, and Normal Wells.
The meeting in Yellowknife takes place on Thursday.
With files from Mackenzie Scott