The Chief of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte agrees with a former national chief of the Assembly of First Nations that the legalization of marijuana can have many benefits for Indigenous peoples, but says there needs to be balance in the plan.
R. Don Maracle spoke to Quinte News following a push by former AFN chief Phil Fontaine to build a grow facility in BC, staffed by First Nations workers and split operating profits between First Nations and an existing medical marijuana company.
Chief Maracle says there is interest from people in the community looking to earn an income from the sale of cannabis, but there is much more information needed and more discussions ahead.
Chief Maracle says the situation is complicated, since it can be hard to find a balance between Indigenous rights and enforcement of provincial law on reserves.
With provinces responsible for recreational pot and the feds handling medicinal marijuana, Chief Maracle says he’s spoken to current AFN chief Perry Bellegarde about how things may unfold on a national level.
The Chief says he’s not sure exactly when any decisions would be made but they would likely have to come before recreational cannabis becomes legal on July 1st.