Article by Terry Bridge, The Sarnia Observer
Kettle and Stony Point officials were tight-lipped Wednesday about a closed-door meeting in response to tensions flaring last weekend over cannabis shops at the former Camp Ipperwash.
But an Anishinabek police spokesperson said the five stores – now four after one was burned down Friday – in Kettle and Stony Point are illegal operations.
The chief of the Kettle and Stony Point First Nation previously said Friday’s tense and hostile situation – two structures were burnt and a firearm appeared to be pointed as members moved to shut the shops down and evict the operators – was reminiscent of the deadly 1995 Ipperwash Crisis.
But Chief Jason Henry didn’t respond Wednesday to interview requests about a private meeting held that afternoon with community leaders, where they discussed the fiery confrontation.
Murray Bressette, a sergeant with the Anishinabek police department in Kettle and Stony Point, deferred questions about the meeting to Henry, but he did say the session was calm.
“There was no issues,” he said. “Everything was calm.”
It wasn’t a calm scene Friday as Kettle and Stony Point members were recorded in a video posted on social media calling the cannabis store operators “invaders” and saying they had no right to the land. It’s been unclear in recent days if the pot shops were operating legally.
Bressette said Wednesday they weren’t.
“They were illegal dispensaries,” he said.
Bressette said all dispensaries not sanctioned by Health Canada are illegal in Ontario and, “as far as I know,” the stores there aren’t sanctioned.
A Health Canada spokesperson couldn’t confirm if the shops in Kettle and Stony Point are licensed, instead referring to a list filled with numbered corporations.
An Ontario Cannabis Store spokesperson referred questions about the shops there to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.
“These store operators are not licensed by the AGCO,” an commission spokesperson confirmed Wednesday in an email.
Bressette said he didn’t know who ran the stores or why the situation reached a boiling point Friday.