The Government of the Yukon Territory is taking what it labels as “a cautious approach” to adult-use cannabis regulation. As a result, when the product is legalized on Oct. 17, 2018, there will be just one (1) 1,500-square-foot temporary, government-run dispensary in Whitehorse, the territorial capital, from where non-medical cannabis can be purchased.
It wasn’t until early August 2018 that the government finalized Bill No. 15: the Cannabis Control and Regulation Act, which governs distribution, retail, consumption, personal cultivation and possession of non-medical cannabis in the Yukon Territory.
In preparing for legalization, the government distributed a Cannabis Consultation Survey. More than 3,000 of the 38,000 residents in Canada’s least-populated territory responded. Among respondents:
- 81% supported legalization
- 75%percent found it socially acceptable to smoke in public, although 58% believed there should be limitations
- A majority (51 percent) supported a mix of government-run and private retailers
In describing its approach, a government report called its legislation a starting point and would “allow for future changes that reflect Yukon’s interest and values.”
For example, the government is still working on how to add privately owned dispensaries, which will be approved by the new Cannabis Licensing Board once it establishes regulations.
Similarly, until it refines and crafts its own laws, the territory leans on the federal regulations for penalties for offenses such as impaired driving. The territory is in the process of overhauling its Motor Vehicles Act, which will allow it to strengthen administrative sanctions. The government is also still in the process of deciding amounts of fines for illegal consumption and possession.
An existing “zero tolerance” policy for drivers’ blood alcohol content in the Graduated License Program was extended to include cannabis.
Under federal guidelines, drivers face graduated penalties depending on levels of drug or alcohol concentrations, as well as previous offenses.
Federally, the legal limit for THC in the bloodstream is two (2) nanograms per milliliter. A nanogram is one-billionth of a gram. Concentrations between two (2) and five (5) nanograms result in a fine up to $1,000. Concentrations of five (5) or more nanograms will result in a $1,000 minimum fine for a first offense, imprisonment of 30 days or more for a second offense and 120 days or more for a third offense. Penalties for drug-impaired driving crashes can range from 18 months to as much as life imprisonment for a fatal crash.
How to Purchase
Recreational marijuana will initially only be available in one (1) government store in Whitehorse. The government is in the process of creating a Cannabis Licensing Board, which will grant licenses to private retailers once regulations are developed.
Online sales will only available from the Yukon Liquor Corporation through a website that has yet to go online. Deliveries will only be to addresses in the territory.
After the Cannabis Licensing Board authorizes sales by private businesses, dispensaries must be stand-alone stores. Employees will be required to take government-approved training.
Customers are permitted to buy a maximum of 30 grams, or 1.06 ounces, of dried cannabis at a time, or their equivalents in fresh cannabis and cannabis oils. Edibles and other products are expected to be introduced by October 2019.
Where is it Safe to Consume?
Smoking will not be allowed in most public places, with the government allowing for “the potential to allow consumption in other spaces in the future.”
Cannabis consumption will be allowed in private residences and adjoining properties. This includes trailers, tents, and vehicles that serve as living quarters. Smoking is allowed in rentals, but landlords and property owners can restrict cannabis possession and use in lease or property agreements.
It is illegal to consume cannabis while operating a motorized vehicle for either drivers or passengers.
In a vehicle, cannabis must be stored in a sealed container that is not accessible during transport to the driver or passengers.
Possession Information and Limits
The minimum legal age to buy or possess cannabis in the Yukon Territory is 19. The territory allows possession by adults of up to 30 grams, or 1.06 ounces, of cannabis in most public places.
The national government has set equivalencies for one (1) gram of dried cannabis to equal:
- five (5) grams of fresh cannabis
- 15 grams, or one-half ounce (0.5 oz) of edibles
- 70 milliliters, or 2.35 fluid ounces, of liquid
- 0.25 grams of concentrate, and
- one (1) plant seed
There is no limit for home storage. Cannabis stored at home must not be accessible to minors younger than 19.
Minors younger than 19 cannot possess non-medical marijuana. Minors with amounts in excess of five (5) grams face criminal prosecution under federal law.
By federal law, patients using medical marijuana are allowed to have up to 150 grams, or 5.3 ounces — 30 times the daily dose prescribed by an authorized health-care practitioner, either an authorized physician or nurse practitioner — of dried marijuana or its equivalent.
to Be to Consume?
The Yukon government will permit homeowners to grow up to four (4) plants in their home.
These regulations do not apply for approved and licensed home-grown medical marijuana, which is governed by national laws.
Thousands of Canadians are federally licensed to possess and use medical marijuana. Until the new law is passed, Canadians must qualify for the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR), which came into effect August 24, 2016.
Recipients must provide medical documentation confirming the diagnosis by a healthcare practitioner, either an authorized physician or nurse practitioner.
Patients must not be convicted of a marijuana-related offense and be registered only once at a time.
Generally, patients can qualify for medical marijuana under two categories. One is to allow for compassionate end-of-life care, for alleviating pain symptoms relating to illnesses and injuries, or for side effects from cancer or HIV/AIDS medications. The second category is for patients suffering from other persistent debilitating symptoms. Among the ailments Health Canada lists as possibly qualifying are:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Attention-deficit and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorders (ADD/ADHD)
- Back and neck conditions
- Brain injury
- Chronic nausea
- Chronic pain
- Eating disorders
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Crohn’s disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Hepatitis C
- Kidney failure, including patients receiving dialysis
- Multiple sclerosis
- Muscle spasms
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Parkinson’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Severe arthritis
- Sexual dysfunction
- Sleep disorders
- Vehicular crashes
Information on eligibility and applying is available at the Canadian government’s medical marijuana website.
Authorized caregivers are allowed to possess fresh or dried marijuana or cannabis oil, and may transfer or administer the substances or provide a medical document. They may also transfer substances to an individual who is responsible for the patient under their professional treatment.
This page was last updated October 16, 2018.