Article by Donna Duric, Turtle Island News
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.