Garden River First Nation (GRFN) says its moratorium on the production and sale of cannabis remains in place until the First Nation determines its position on the issue.
On Wednesday, the First Nation issued a notice reminding its citizens of the moratorium - a week after two men were charged by Anishinabek Police Service in relation to the operation of an illegal cannabis dispensary in Garden River.
The moratorium on cannabis sales and production was originally introduced by GRFN in September 2018.
“Currently, GRFN has no legal framework for cannabis production and/or sales, therefore, these sales remain illegal and licencing will not be brought forward to council until we as a community determine our next steps through consultation,” reads the notice. “Failure to adhere to the moratorium may jeopardize future participation in the cannabis industry.”
“GRFN will continue to assert our right to self-government and jurisdiction as we collectively determine our legal system to control cannabis in the best interest and safety of our citizens. Although cannabis is legal, Canada failed to engage with First Nations and to outline a framework for First Nation participation within the industry. This leaves us the responsibility to determine our own legal framework (eg. cannabis law, policies and regulations).”
The public notice issued by GRFN to its membership also states that the First Nation is working with Indigenous consulting firm Bimaadzwin Inc. - founded and led by former Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day - to engage community members regarding the potential sale or prohibition of cannabis in its territory.
“We believe that community consultation with our citizens will be critical in determining our path forward,” the notice stated.
The First Nation has also issued an online survey about cannabis sales and production to its membership as part of its consultation process.
GRFN anticipates a final report to be completed by Bimaadzwin Inc. sometime in January.
Chief Andy Rickard was not available for comment.