Cannabis sales should be legal in First Nations communities, chief says

First Nations communities weren’t consulted when the Cannabis Act was being established

Chief Isadore Day, a member of the Assembly of First Nations, said First Nations communities have the right to sell cannabis. (CBC)

A member of the Assembly of First Nations is asking the federal government to legalize the sale of cannabis in First Nations communities.

Chief Isadore Day of Sault Ste. Marie said Indigenous communities weren’t consulted when legalization was in the works, so they went ahead and set up dispensaries, which they consider legitimate.

“We’re not black market,” Day told Information Morning Fredericton. “We just haven’t been legitimized by Canada’s cannabis framework as of yet.”

Cannabis NB chief executive officer Patrick Parent has blamed illegal cannabis sales for its lack of profit in its first year of sales.

There are at least 50 illegal cannabis sales operations in the province, more than double the 20 legal Cannabis NB stores, Parent said. Many of the illegal sellers are full retail stores operating openly or advertising online.

In New Brunswick, purchasing cannabis from anywhere besides Cannabis NB is illegal — that includes dispensaries in First Nations communities.

Tobique First Nation and St. Mary’s First Nation each have dispensaries operating illegally, but Day doesn’t think they should be categorized as such.

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