- Cannabis legalization in Yukon
- Consumption, possession and cultivation
- Retail and distribution
- Talking to youth about using cannabis
- Drug-impaired driving and road safety
- Health risks associated with cannabis
Cannabis legalization in Yukon
Check with your local municipal government to learn more about they have introduced cannabis-related bylaws.
Cannabis use in Yukon
Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit substance in the world and the most prevalent illicit substance used in Canada.
Self-reports from a Government of Yukon survey in 2004/2005 indicate cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug in Yukon and Yukon has one of the highest rates of cannabis use. 21% of Yukon adults surveyed had used cannabis in the last year compared to 14% of Canadian adults.
Cannabis was also the most frequently used illicit drug used by First Nation populations in a 2008/09 Regional Health Survey of First Nations citizens. 35% of Yukon First Nation adults surveyed reported using cannabis in the previous year.
Travelling with cannabis
Cannabis legalization doesn't mean it is legal to transport cannabis to other jurisdictions. Check the laws of where you are travelling before transporting cannabis from Yukon to another jurisdiction.
Glossary of cannabis terms
Cannabis. Products derived from the flowers, resins and leaves of the Cannabis sativa plant, Cannabis indica plant, or hybrids of the two. Products include dried flowers in the form of “weed,” “pot” or “bud," hashish, hash oil, tinctures and other concentrates like “dabs” or “shatter.”
Cannabis or marijuana. "Cannabis” describes cannabis products in general and "marijuana” refers to the dried flowers of the cannabis plant.
Cannabis use. Cannabis can be used for medical, recreational, industrial or spiritual purposes.
Medical cannabis. Cannabis products prescribed by a healthcare practitioner to treat a specific medical condition.
Recreational cannabis. Using cannabis products for their “high." The mental and physical effects can include changes in perception and a heightened mood.
THC. THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol is the chemical compound responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis known as the “high."
Cannabis consumption. Cannabis can be consumed in the following ways.
- Smoking. Inhaling smoke from joints (paper-wrapped), blunts (tobacco-wrapped), pipes or bongs.
- Vaporizing. Inhaling the vapor from heated cannabis using a vaporizer, “vape” pen or e-cigarette.
- Edibles. Cannabis can be added to a variety of foods, such as brownies, cookies and candies.
- Drinks. Cannabis extracts can be added to any beverage.
- Dabbing. Heating cannabis concentrates on a hot surface and inhaling the smoke.
- Other methods include tinctures taken orally and lotions applied directly to the skin.
Consumption, possession and cultivation
You must be 19+ years of age to buy and use cannabis in Yukon. This is also the minimum age to buy and consume alcohol.
Cannabis retail locations
Once cannabis is legal, it will be sold at a government store in Whitehorse and online. In the near future the Government of Yukon will license private cannabis retail stores.
Possessing cannabis in public for personal use
- You must be 19+ years of age.
- You can buy up to 30 grams of dried cannabis per purchase. This is the legal amount a person can have in their possession.
Using cannabis for personal use
- You must be 19+ years of age to consume cannabis.
- Cannabis must be consumed
- in a private residence and adjoining property.
- in another location if it is permitted by regulations.
- Cannabis consumed must be legally obtained.
You can't consume cannabis by inhaling smoke or vapour:
- in the presence of health or social service providers; or
- in the presence of another person defined in regulations who doesn't want to be exposed to smoking or vaping;
- in an enclosed space that is a daycare, pre-school or other licensed child care home. It doesn't matter whether children are present or not; and
- in any group-living facility as defined by the Smoke-Free Places Act.
Using cannabis in the workplace
If you’re impaired because you’ve used cannabis or any other substance, it’s illegal for you to be at work. If your impairment is the result of the medical use of cannabis or another substance, talk to your employer. You may be eligible for an accommodation, depending on how safety-sensitive your job is.
Ask your employer about the impairment policy for your workplace. If there isn’t an impairment policy, ask your employer to establish one and train you and your fellow workers on it.
Landlord and tenant rights
Landlords and tenants should talk about cannabis. Make sure you understand and agree to the rules. Contact the Residential Tenancies Office to apply for a dispute resolution if there is a disagreement.
Once cannabis becomes legal:
- Landlords can use tenancy agreements to restrict cannabis use and growth.
- Smoking cannabis is allowed in residences where smoking is currently permitted. There may be some exceptions. The Smoke Free Places Act and the Cannabis Control and Regulations Act have details about specific exceptions and conditions.
Tenancy agreements that include “no smoking” rules will include cannabis. The landlord and tenant can agree in writing if the "no smoking" rule doesn't include cannabis.
This information sheet provides more details for landlord and tenants on cannabis and residential tenancies.
Condominium corporations can make rules that restrict smoking and growing cannabis.
Condo corporations should discuss cannabis with condo owners and make sure everyone understands the rules.
People 19+ years of age can grow up to 4 cannabis plants for personal use.
- The plants must be grown from legally obtained seeds or plant material.
- You can only grow these plants at your private residence and adjoining property.
- There is a limit of 4 plants per household, not per person.
Find out how to apply to be a licensed cannabis producer.
Talking to youth about using cannabis
Provide youth with facts about the effects of cannabis so they can make informed decisions about using it. Start talking with your kids when they are between 11 and 15 years old. Ask them what they know about cannabis and how their friends are talking about it.
If you think your kids are using cannabis or other drugs, identify the reason why they might be using or starting to self-medicate.
Yukon youth cannabis use
29.85% of Canadian youth reported using cannabis within the past year in a recent cross-national study.
Yukon youth don't think using cannabis is risky. We don't have solid data on when Yukon youth first use cannabis, but anecdotal evidence suggest it can occur in late childhood and early adolescence.
Cannabis was the most frequently used substance among Grade 9 and 10 Yukon students in a 2016 survey. 36.9% of students participating in the survey reported they had tried cannabis compared to 23% nationally. 22.3% reported using cannabis within the last 30 days compared to 13% of Canadian students.
42% of Yukon First Nations youth reported they had used cannabis in the previous year. (2008/09 Yukon First Nations Regional Health Survey, CYFN 2013). In 2015/16 that number was down to 38% (Yukon First Nations Regional Health Survey and H. Stappers, personal communication, July 13, 2017)
Drug-impaired driving and road safety
Impaired driving is illegal. It doesn't matter if it is due to alcohol or drugs.
Drug-impaired driving offences are currently, and will continue to be, addressed through the:
Government of Canada and Government of Yukon are both updating their respective legislation to further address drug-impaired driving.
The RCMP are the enforcement authority for all types of impaired driving.
Health risks associated with cannabis
Using cannabis can:
- make you feel relaxed and happy, it is just as likely to make you feel anxious and paranoid;
- decrease your ability to concentrate, remember, think and make decisions. When use begins early and is frequent, these effects can be long term;
- affect the part of your brain responsible for decision making, social behaviour and personality;
- slow your reaction time and affect your ability to drive; and
- impair your ability to perform high-speed activities like biking, skiing or playing sports.
Impairment can last for 24+ hours after use. This is well after other effects have faded.
Short- and long-term risks
We have some understanding of short-term risks of cannabis use like its effects on memory, attention and psychomotor function.
Our knowledge of long-term risks of cannabis use is limited because cannabis use has been prohibited so there hasn't been time to undertake any comprehensive studies. Long-term risks may include permanent harm to mental functioning, risks of depression and anxiety disorders.
Cannabis can be addictive. About 1 in 11 people who use cannabis will become addicted. That risk rises to about 1 in 6 for people who started using cannabis as a teen.
Risks to children and youth
Your brain isn’t fully developed until your mid-20’s. Using cannabis before you’re 25 can lead to permanent cognitive problems and can increase the risk of development issues.
Risks associated with consuming cannabis
Consuming cannabis can increase health risks depending on the potency of the product and how often it is used.
Driving while impaired by cannabis is associated with an increased risk of accidents and fatalities.
Using cannabis with alcohol may pose an incremental risk for impaired driving and may damage your lungs, making it harder to breathe and increasing the risk of chronic lung disease. It may also increase your risk of lung cancer, especially if you already smoke tobacco.
Risks to vulnerable populations
The more you use cannabis, the higher your chances are of developing schizophrenia and other psychoses. It can also lead to social anxiety and paranoia.
Frequent cannabis use during pregnancy may lead to lower birth weight of the baby and affect the development and learning skills of your child.
Risks related to interactions with the illegal cannabis market
Using unsafe products that are illegally produced can expose people to violence and exposure to more harmful and illegal substances. Additional risks include arrest, a criminal record or imprisonment.
Safer ways to use cannabis
It’s best to wait until you are over 25 to avoid any risk of developmental delays. Consider non-smoking methods and choose cannabis with lower THC levels. Don’t use cannabis every day, and DO NOT drive while high.
For questions about what the government is doing about cannabis email email@example.com.