Article by Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon, CBC News
The chief of Tobique First Nation says the RCMP raid on the community’s new marijuana dispensary Thursday prompted a blockade that could have turned into a “full-out conflict.”
Ross Perley says Tribal ReLeaf, which opened in July, is 51 per cent-owned by the band and has the full support of band council as a “pain management centre.”
“We’re sick and tired of doctors and pharmacists shoving opioids down the throats of our people, paid for by Health Canada,” he said. “So this is a way … for people to get the medicine they need to try and live happy, peaceful lives.”
Perley said the marijuana can help people in the community with medical conditions such as cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as those trying to kick addictions to opioids and other narcotics.
And the band’s share of the revenue can go back into the community — everything from programs for youth and assistance for the elderly to helping the unemployed find jobs and infrastructure projects.
It’s only been a couple of months, but Perley said the initiative has been “good for the community” and that’s why there was such a strong show of support during the raid.
About 100 members and several vehicles blocked officers from leaving “for a number of hours,” he said. It was peaceful and no weapons were involved, but the situation was “delicate.”