Marijuana Legalization and Prevention in Northwest Territories
What is the state of legal cannabis in the Northwest Territories?
Legal recreational cannabis is now available in the Northwest Territories, and the minimum age to purchase recreational cannabis is 19, and this includes possession and consumption. 19 is the age for legal drinking in the Northwest Territories, and this is creating a consistent and unified approach to help restrict the access of cannabis to the youth living in the territory, and to help protect public safety and ensure public health is protected. Within the Northwest Territories adults who are 19 years or older will be permitted to possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis in a public place, and people under the age of 19 are not allowed to purchase or possess any form of cannabis.
While in a vehicle, any type of cannabis product must be in a closed package and not within the reach of the driver or its occupants. Adults who are 19 or older are allowed to grow up to four cannabis plants per household, and the plants must be grown indoors and the seeds can only be purchased from a legal supplier. When cannabis became legal in the Northwest Territories, it will be monitored by the Northwest Territories Liquor and Cannabis Commission, which will be responsible for the distribution and sale of cannabis throughout the territory.
The sale of recreational cannabis is only restricted to fresh or dried cannabis, cannabis oil, and seeds. Residents within the Northwest Territories are only permitted to buy legal cannabis products online and from some of the Northwest Territory liquor stores. The consumption of cannabis in the Northwest Territories is limited to private property, where tobacco is allowed, as well on trails and road ways, but not while operating a vehicle, and in parks, when it is not being used for a public event. Each community government in the Northwest Territories have the authority to create and enforce their own bylaws, and any Northwest Territory without an existing cannabis store will have the options to open one or not.
How can parents, teachers, and mentors talk to youth about legal recreational cannabis?
For youth to reach their full potential, it is recommended for them to avoid the use of cannabis, because the early and frequent use of cannabis among youth will impact the brain, in ways of learning memory and attention. Recreational cannabis containing large amounts of THC or any THC can become addictive, and it will be harder to stop the use of the drug, especially at a young age. Adults who are responsible for youth should learn the risks and be informed about cannabis and what it does. It is important for parents, teachers and mentors to take the time to speak to youth about cannabis, and they can access a Cannabis Talk Kit, and also access various webinars about cannabis and health.
The Canadian Center on Substance Use and Addiction has information for parents to help their teens understand what the facts and fiction are surrounding marijuana. Providing the correct information is important, and this will allow youth to make responsible decisions, especially when cannabis is offered to them. Parents, teachers, and mentors should be prepared to answer questions, and have the information available to show them. Youth will have all different types of questions, and will want to know the facts and myths about marijuana, and how legal cannabis may or may not impact their lives.
What are the health impacts surrounding cannabis, and is treatment available in the Northwest Territories?
When someone is using cannabis daily or near to every day, this will impact a developing brain, especially among young people. The long-term and frequent use of cannabis during this time has the potential to lead to problems with memory, concentration, learning, and emotions, and the regular use of cannabis will cause difficulties with attention, thinking and even solving problems. Many health experts believe that the long-term use of cannabis, may increase the risk of mental health problems, especially among young people and those who are already struggling with mental health issues.
There is a different between recreational cannabis and medical cannabis; most recreational cannabis will have THC, which is one of the primary chemicals that creates the psychoactive effects. Someone can become addicted to or dependent on marijuana, because of large amounts of THC. When this happens, there are drug treatment options available in the Northwest Territories to help treat the addiction. Any addict can reach out for help, and even someone who feels they are dependent on marijuana can reach out for treatment or counseling. Choosing the right form of treatment is important, and there are territorial resources and private services, and many that provide First Nations traditions to help anyone struggling with an addiction or dependency to cannabis.