Meet the Former Cop Behind Canada’s First Indigenous Licensed Cannabis Producer

Article by Joshua Ostroff, Vice News

Dec 6 2018, 9:54am Meet the Former Cop Behind Canada’s First Indigenous Licensed Cannabis Producer Lewis Mitchell believes his company can be a force for good for First Nations communities. Former cop turned licensed cannabis producer Lewis Mitchel | Image via sevenleaf.ca / Wikipedia Commons.

Eighty years ago, the police chief on the Caughnawaga reserve across the St. Lawrence river from Montreal spent weeks supervising the picking, carting, and burning of 3,500 pounds of pot under order of the Department of Indian Affairs. “The leaves and seeds of the marijuana plant contain a drug police fear more than any other narcotic,” ominously warned the Montreal Gazette on September 29, 1938, adding cops considered it a “greater menace” than opium and cocaine because it “often brings on insanity.”

This reefer believed to cause madness had reportedly been growing wild across the land now known as Kahnawake Mohawk Territory for “as long as residents can remember,” the Gazette wrote.

Fast forward to September 21, 2018—and a hundred klicks downriver to Cornwall Island in Akwesasne Mohawk Territory—and former police chief Lewis Mitchell was getting a far more preferable directive from the feds. After a four-year application process, his company Seven Leaf, had finally been given the go-ahead to cultivate cannabis. And Mitchell became president of Canada’s first Indigenous owned-and-operated licensed producer (LP).

“We’re pretty proud of that,” Mitchell told VICE. “To be the first is huge–and we’re looking to inspire not only our own community members, but hopefully other First Nation communities.”

Read the full article here.

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