Legal marijuana creating no issues, mayors say

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While some Nunavummiut feared the consequences of legalized cannabis, four Nunavut mayors say they have no cause for concern three months after the drug was permitted by the government.

“I haven’t particularly noticed anything different happening in the community. I think people are maybe more happy that it’s legal,” said Cambridge Bay Mayor Pam Gross. “It’s there and it’s legal, which makes people feel better about it… knowing that it’s coming from a safe place feels good too.”

Timoon Toonoo: Cape Dorset mayor is one of four Nunavut municipal leaders who says legalized cannabis has had no effect on his community.
Photo courtesy of Timoon Toonoo

In Cape Dorset, Mayor Timoon Toonoo said he hasn’t discerned any changes since recreational cannabis was legalized.

“I was just talking to my SAO (senior administrative officer) about this. We both agree that it’s the same as it had been,” Toonoo said.

In Rankin Inlet, “absolutely nothing” has changed, said Mayor Robert Janes.

“Actually, I was a little bit surprised because I was expecting it to have more (of an effect), but nope, not a thing.”

Iglulik residents have been very conscientious about not smoking close to public buildings, Mayor Celestino Uyarak said.

“Nothing has really changed,” said Uyarak. “The greatest concerns were that high school students would be smoking when they go out at recess or that (it would be smoky) going in and out of the stores, but we have not heard any complaints to our office.”

Gross said Cambridge Bay will adapt the cannabis-use bylaw that the City of Iqaluit has enacted, which outlines where smoking marijuana is authorized, akin to smoking cigarettes and vaping.

Toonoo and Uyarak also said they and their respective councils are also planning to draft cannabis-use bylaws for their communities to define areas where smoking it is authorized.