Cannabis shops set to open at Six Nations July 1st; police warn raids possible

By Donna Duric

Writer

SIX NATIONS OF THE GRAND-With a number of cannabis shops set to begin operation on Six Nations tomorrow (July 1), Six Nations Police are warning it’s still illegal.

The Six Nations Police told the Turtle Island News in an email today that their position on cannabis has not changed. Police cite their press release from November 2019 stating that the sale of any cannabis-related product on the territory is illegal unless licensed through provincial regulations.

The Six Nations Peoples Cannabis Coalition , a grassroots group of Six Nations people with an interest in selling cannabis, announced last week it would begin issuing its own seal of approval for local members to start selling cannabis on the territory beginning July 1.

The coalition has set out  of its own rules and regulations and said testing can be conducted at licensed facilities off the territory until it establishes its own testing facility here on Six Nations.

The coalition is in talks with a Six Nations businessman to use his testing facility for products sold on Six Nations.

“There’s hundreds of certified testing labs throughout Canada,” the coalition said. “Getting product tested before the end user gets it, is going to be the easiest part of this process. Once we have appropriate testing on the territory then we won’t have to outsource this process.”

At the same , a joint statement released today (Tuesday) from the  Six Nations Elected Council (SNEC) and the  Six Nations Cannabis Commission. The Six Nations Cannabis Commission was appointed by SNEC almost two years ago and says it is still working on regulations.  The commission found itself  besieged with infighting in its first year that resulted in the chair being removed and another member resigning. The commission is still operating short members.

SNEC  warned those opening shop tomorrow that they could face the risk of charges or legal liability.

Elected Council said since it placed a moratorium on selling cannabis on the territory in August 2019, those operating retail dispensaries are doing so illegally.

“Given this, and recent announcements by groups intent on continuing to operate illegal cannabis businesses supplying unregulated cannabis, we believe it is important to highlight to the community that anyone willingly engaging in illegal activities in respect of cannabis is at risk of criminal and civil liability – and, more importantly, is endangering the health and safety of individuals in our community,” the joint statement read.

Six Nations Elected Council and the Cannabis Commission said the moratorium on selling cannabis remains in place until the commission comes up with its own regulations. The commission said it won’t be fully operational until November 2021.

The joint statement also points to issues of safety when it comes to selling cannabis on the territory.

“Illicit cannabis continues to be grown, processed, and consumed in our community without safety standards or quality practices in place, which has resulted in devastating overdoses due to cannabis being sold that was laced with fentanyl.”

The like the coalition the commission said “Six Nations community members want to ensure there is safe product for adult-use recreational cannabis, and kept out of the hands of our children and youth, that environmental protections are in place, that it’s an industry without a monopoly, and for cannabis businesses to make contributions to the community.

It is our responsibility to ensure cannabis businesses on the territory are accountable for their actions by conducting business within a legal framework that benefits of the cannabis industry return to the people of Six Nations and that health and safety are upheld against defined and transparent standards,” the statement reads.

The commission said it is working with a team of professionals, “to build a regulated framework that will ensure appropriate and proven measures are in place, which will include testing of harmful substances commonly found in illicitly grown cannabis such as pesticides and heavy metals, to ensure the safety and quality of all cannabis products sold on the territory.  While there are variables that exist that may impact the timeline, our goal is to begin accepting applications for production by the end of November 2020.”

The coalition said the cannabis commission, which was created in February 2019, has had enough time to put regulations in place.

“Council and their cannabis commission likes to make it look like these things are unobtainable,” the coalition stated in an email. “This industry has been fully operational for over a year. The resources that we need are at our door step, yet the commission still needs another year for some reason to be able to meet these goals they have.”

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