No Marijuana Shops Anytime Soon, Says Chief of Dry Reserve Given Pot Permit By Province

Article by CBC News

No marijuana shops anytime soon, says chief of dry reserve given pot permit by province Cree leaders want elders, community members to weigh in before deciding whether to sell cannabis CBC News. Onion Lake Cree Nation Chief Wallace Fox said his reserve has no immediate plans to open a cannabis retailer, because his council's current mandate is to root out gangs and illegal activity. (CBC)

The chief of Saskatchewan’s biggest dry First Nation said he was surprised Monday when the province said it would allow his reserve to open a cannabis store, once marijuana is legalized.

“We didn’t push this,” said Wallace Fox, chief of the Onion Lake Cree Nation.

His community voted nearly 30 years ago to ban alcohol and drug use on its reserve, located 50 kilometres north of Lloydminster, by the Alberta border.

Don’t expect a marijuana shop to open there anytime soon, Fox said.

“The mandate of this council is to provide a safe community to our membership,” said Fox.

“There has been no consultation with the membership, the elders, and the council has not formally made any decision whether to proceed with this project or not.”

Legalized weed ‘a controversial issue’ on-reserve

Leaders of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation and the Lac La Ronge Indian Band also tell CBC News they need to weigh the decision around selling marijuana on their land carefully.

The province said its initial allocations of marijuana retail permits went to communities and First Nations with populations of more than 2,500 people.

“We’ve been working on a wellness treatment recovery centre for a number of years now,” said Chief Tammy Cook-Searson of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band.

“This is a controversial issue.”

Still, Cook-Searson said she’s spoken with people who have used marijuana products to treat chronic pain with success, and expects her band will eventually see someone open a cannabis shop.

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