While all provinces legalized marijuana for recreational use in October of 2018, medicinal marijuana has been legal to purchase all across the country since 1999 thanks to the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR).
To acquire a prescription for medicinal marijuana in the Northwest Territories, an individual will first have to sit down and have a discussion with their physician in order to determine if cannabis could be a valid treatment option. It’s generally not an issue these days so long as you have a diagnosis within the previous five years with a condition that is known to be treatable with medicinal marijuana.
If your physician agrees that medicinal marijuana could be beneficial for you, they will fill out a medical document that you can use to register as a patient with an authorized dispensary. Alternatively, you could also take your documentation to Health Canada to be able to produce your own cannabis yourself – in limited quantities, of course.
However you choose to acquire your medicinal marijuana, you will still be limited by the same possession laws – either a 30 day supply or 150 grams – whichever works out to be the lesser amount.
Compare that with the laws surrounding recreational cannabis purchase and consumption in the Northwest Territories, which are as follows:
- 19 is the legal minimum age to purchase cannabis
- An individual may only purchase or possess a maximum of 30 grams of cannabis in public at one time
- Residents of the NWT may grow up to four plants per household – this rule applies regardless of the amount of people living in the house
- Recreational cannabis can be purchased from the majority of the NWT liquor stores
Being able to purchase more than 30 grams of cannabis at one time can be seen as a huge benefit for medicinal marijuana patients. They also have far more options when it comes to how they choose to consume their medicine compared with people purchasing it recreationally.
For example, edibles still aren’t able to be legally sold for recreational use in Canada – yet. However, with a valid marijuana prescription, it’s no trouble at all to enjoy a wide variety of different types of edibles. Patients can get everything from edible cookies to hard candies and even popcorn.
Medicinal marijuana patients also have access to a far greater amount of different types of cannabis strains, with plenty of options to choose from for sativas, indicas, and hybrids.
Know the Laws in the Northwest Territories: Impaired Driving
It’s important to be fully aware of how the law operates in the Northwest Territories regarding impaired driving – even more so now that cannabis has been fully legalized.
The first thing to know is that it is a Criminal Code offence to be under the influence of alcohol or marijuana while operating a motor vehicle. Changes to this code went into effect on October 17, 2018 (legalization day) that state that drivers can be charged if they drive with more than a set amount of THC in their blood.
RCMP officers in the Northwest Territories tend to do an excellent job when it comes to enforcing impaired driving laws, so think twice before operating a motor vehicle after using your medicine.
Not only is there the possibility that you could be charged under the Criminal Code, but you could possibly have your license suspended as well. This tends to occur if you fail a standardized field sobriety test, if you don’t pass an evaluation by a drug recognition expert, or if you simply refuse to take either test without a valid excuse.
Another important fact to keep in mind is that certain drivers can potentially lose their license if they are caught with even minimal amounts of alcohol or cannabis in their system. There is a zero tolerance policy for drivers who fall into any of the following categories:
- Drivers who are 22 years of age or younger
- Drivers with a learners or probationary license
- Drivers of a few types of commercial vehicles
As a final important note, any cannabis that you have in your motor vehicle must be in an unopened container or otherwise stored out of reach, similar to how the law currently works regarding the transport of alcohol.