Yukon communities getting ready to roll with legal pot
'We’re already looking at our existing bylaws and trying to identify where changes need to be made'
The promised legalization of marijuana next year has some small municipalities in Yukon looking ahead, and wondering what their role will be.
"What concerns us right now is the timelines," said Diana Rogerson, the president of the Association of Yukon Communities (AYC).
"We know from a municipal perspective that we are going to have to look at revising existing bylaws, or creating new bylaws and policies."
The federal government has promised to legalize cannabis use by July. The territories and provinces have to decide what the rules should be in their individual jurisdictions.
So far the AYC has been in talks with the Yukon government, Rogerson said. But until the territory has a plan for distribution, the municipalities are left waiting and wondering what their next steps should be.
"That work is really dependant to a large extent on what the territorial distribution model's going to look like," she said.
The AYC has requested to be part of the working group that was established by the Yukon government, said Rogerson, but is still waiting for a response. She hopes the municipal perspective will be taken into account when decisions are being made by the Yukon government.
In the meantime, she said, the communities have been trying to prepare for legalization as best as they can.
"Right now we're already looking at our existing bylaws and trying to identify where changes need to be made," said Rogerson.
One concern, she says, is the tight timeline — she's unsure whether small communities have the capacity to revise any bylaws by July.
Rogerson says enforcement, and the demands on RCMP officers, is another potential concern.
The government of Yukon launched an online survey last month, to collect ideas and opinions on legalization. Yukoners have until Sept. 30 to respond to the survey.
With files from Jamie-Lee McKenzie