The following is a complete transcript of the MBQ community meeting held on Sept 12th, 2019 in which lawyer Sara Mainville presented the MBQ’s Cannabis Control Law.
Complete Verbatim Transcript of the Sept 12th, 2019 Meeting of the MBQ Community Meeting on Cannabis
Sara Mainville: … And I’m going to go relatively slowly so that I explain the four corners of the Cannabis Control law. And I just want to also be very mindful that you all have a copy of the law. So there’s a thing that you can flip through. There’s a table of contents. So the table of contents shows you the page numbers of various portions of the law. And after the presentation, I’ll be happy to take some questions. Hopefully I can answer some questions.
This is, of course, part of the legal framework. And so there is a law but there’s also other rules that have to be defined. So unfortunately some of your questions, the answer will be once the board is appointed, the board will make the decision. So just to let you know that that’s the state that we’re in right now. But the most important thing is we know that there is an industry here. We’re not blind to that. So we’re trying to create a system of rules that deal with the concerns that we’ve heard over the past year, and hopefully helps to facilitate some of the hard work that you’ve been doing to create a very legitimate business for yourselves. We’re going to try to foster that industry in a way that meets the main purposes of the law. So I’ll go right into the presentation.
So we know on October 17, 2018 that cannabis was legalized through a federal system of delegated licensing authority. And we know that there was an injustice there because there was no discussions, or very few discussions with First Nation leadership or First Nations themselves about how you wanted to legalize cannabis in your community, and what your relationship with cannabis would be. So we’re trying to remedy that injustice by fostering a model or a system of law here in the community.
Council met with community regarding cannabis issues on a few occasions before I came to help the community, and I was retained to help a certain jurisdiction in a way that, it’s my opinion that will withstand other government scrutiny and hopefully will foster some of the economic opportunity that’s already here, but also meet some of the concerns that we’ve heard loud and clear from community members as they’ve met in different focus groups and committee meetings throughout the past year.
So in order to keep the provincial licensing system out and provincial offenses out of from the community, my advice was to cover the field. And I know, and I’ve seen, I’ve been watching the Twitterverse and some of you are very active on that, I know. But there is some controversy about the way that we’ve done this, but I think that we’ve done this the best that we could to make sure that we kept the provincial offenses out of your community and illegitimate enforcement outside of your community and we’re trying to create a regime that’s both legitimate and legal in Tyendinaga.
It’s something that’s being done very strategically, with both eyes to try to make sure that we have laws that will withstand those outside forces, but also that actually creates a system that you will all be proud to participate in, and also willing to participate in, and this idea of solidarity, as you will all self-enforce the system because it’s a good system that has more benefits being inside of the system rather than being outside of the system.
So from December to March, there was extensive community consultations and based on the feedback and comments that we’ve heard and some instructions that we’ve had, we’ve created this cannabis control law that you have in your hands, and that will also be in a referendum or the voting, that will be in the future, date to be determined. So there will be a ratification about the law.
So unfortunately it’s not always the best situation where you’re responding to something being done by others, but that’s the situation we’ve found ourselves in. So we do have a federal law that’s impacting you and preventive laws that we’re trying to keep out. But the way that it’s written, there’s no way to find inclusion in that system because it’s written in a way that the only way you’re doing legal activity is if you’re inside of the provincial licensing regime or the federal licensing regime, depending on what activity you’re doing. So it’s a watertight system. It doesn’t allow others in with outside licensing. So that’s a problem.
So likewise, we’re creating this cannabis law but it’s also a system that’s not… it’s going to be difficult to interact between the two systems unless the governments involved decide to work together. We haven’t heard that yet, so the system will be in communities, from seed to sale, and hopefully a successful one. But we need the community to have some solidarity around it and find ways to make this a workable system that is [inaudible 06:21] in the community.
So the Cannabis Licensing… the law that you have in your hand, it’s meant to protect the commercial interests of the businesses for the licenses. It’s meant to protect the consumer interests and members, residents, and visitors to Tyendinaga. It’s also meant to share in the risk and reward of licensed cannabis activity and share some community benefits with the community in an orderly way, and also protect of course the health and safety of the community.
So I’ve heard this… I’ve been working with other communities that do have active dispensaries, and there’s a lot of really good actors in the dispensary industry that really believe in the plan, really believe in the benefits of the plan, and are trying to create businesses that are legitimate in any federal or provincial licensed business. But the fact is self-regulation is very difficult to support because there are outside factors. The risk and the reward of doing things maybe to make more money, or the cost of fully complying with a federal-like system. If no one’s forcing you to do it, sometimes you don’t force yourself to do it.
So we’re taking the approach that it’s self-regulation in a way that it’s a community based law. And it’s a community based law because you wanted to have the opportunity to ratify it, but nobody wanted to do a referendum. And we’re hoping that this presentation will help you make the decision in an informed way that the status quo would be made better if you had a licensing regime in Tyendinaga.
So we know that there’s some risks in the community created by a licensed regime. I would any dispensary owner or store owner, where are you getting your supply from? And can you be honest and transparent about that. And once we can start having that conversation, we can figure out how to make the regime have the confidence of outside communities of saying yes, that’s a legitimate legal regime. But we need to have that conversation. We need to dispensary owners to be transparent and accountable for what they’re putting on the shelves.
And that’s not to say that it’s grey or black market, we’re just saying that it’s not regulated and we need to figure out how to have that dialogue with one another to make sure that the licensing regime does work. There’s also questions about the employment that some of the stores are providing to other members of the community, and some of the risks associated with that.
Personally, I worry about young people not being able to go across the U.S. – Canada border because they might not be able to, because there’s [inaudible 09:45] cannabis market. So it’s just common concerns that we have, and that your community has, that we’re trying to create a legitimate legal system that benefits the community as a whole.
So the purposes are largely health and safety related, like not the overzealous approach that Health Canada has taken to create a product that’s frankly unaffordable for most cannabis users in the medical cannabis market. So we want to create a regulation that is sound in protecting health and safety concerns, but we also want to make sure that the regulation works in this community in a way that promotes good business practices that may already exist, but also promote good business practices for all of the stores, and particularly the cultivation that’s happening in the community, to make sure that there are best practices happening and that we can ensure that the health and safety… not just the members, but the consumers that are consuming your products are… that everything is safe.
And also an important task of mine is to protect the jurisdiction with integrity of your community. And I’m aware of your history. I’m aware of some of the legal issues involved in your jurisdictional challenges. And so I just don’t want there to be a situation where we’re asserting something, that it’s quashed by a settler court or having to defend a license that may be at risk of hurting your jurisdictional claims for a host of other legal issues.
So my job is to try to cautiously approach this real need to ensure that you have the jurisdictional mandate to control cannabis, which I think is a real need in this community, but balance that out with the interests of creating a law that actually does foster economic opportunity around cannabis as well. So I think we have to be balanced in this law, but certainly going to hear feedback about it as well.
So the system itself will have to be workable, but it will also have to generate some fees, so the idea that there will be licensing fees. But again, the answer to the question of what those will be is something I have to say, it’s going to be determined by the board. And so we’ve been putting together comparables and surveyed, you’ll see that the board does have to consult the community prior to putting licensing fees in place.
So one of the major things that I’m very mindful of, because I’m not just working for your community, I’m working for other communities, and the main issue is to make sure that there is legal cultivation happening in the community to supply your legal system. And I don’t know that, and I don’t know if there is cultivation happening in your community that could be quickly licensed.
But what I know is if you’re getting your supply from grey or black markets in other jurisdictions, we’re going to have to work through some major legal issues. And so we have to have that conversation on how to get seed-to-sale, legitimate legal supply into your cannabis licensing system. But also there are some legitimate concerns of your neighbours, your friends, and your family in the community about the amount of activity that’s happening now, that we’ve certainly heard loud and clear.
So we have discussed and put rules in place so that some of the activity that’s impacting other people’s ability to live in the community and feel safe. So we’re trying to balance all of those interests and also provide a real benefit to the community by having this licensing regime in place.
So the law will apply to commercial activity in cannabis. So all the businesses that have… are engaging in cultivation, processing, extraction, production, distribution, recreational and medical cannabis that are for adult use for cannabis, and are being covered by this law including the transportation and delivery to and from Tyendinaga will be covered by this law. Those folks have to be licensed. And any business or individuals involved with an interest, any associates would also have to be part of that licensing system as well.
So the idea with this regime, well quite unlike actually the federal regime, is that any activity that happens with cannabis has to be licensed. And so cannabis legalization is sort of a very generous way to put it because really, they just licensed a sliver of activity, a very small portion of cannabis activity in Canada. And so otherwise, if you are operating in an unlicensed way, you’re considered to be working with illicit cannabis or black or grey market cannabis, well it’s the same sort of orientation that this regime will have within Tyendinaga.
So what it would result in, the enforcement would have to happen outside of the Cannabis Control Law. You have legitimate legal business activities if you’re licensed in the Cannabis Control Law for Tyendinaga, but if you’re operating outside of the regime, then you’re potentially operating in contravention to the Federal Cannabis Act.
So the licenses don’t look dissimilar to other Indigenous Cannabis Control Laws that you’ve seen from maybe Kahnawake or Akwesasne or other communities. We sort of have robust rules around how these licenses are created and certainly in the operation, will look a bit unlike the Health Canada or provincial licensing because it’s a made in Tyendinaga… a Tyendinaga solution, I hope. And theres more work to make sure that from seed to sale, that there’s a system, an actual practical system of cannabis production in Tyendinaga.
So the supply chain example doesn’t look much different from the federal regime, except that this is in community, all licenses by the community licensing… the board, and licensing from everything from seed to sale in the community. So the supply chain, again, can’t interact with other systems but more maybe other First Nations legal systems. So that’s from the conversation that I am suggesting could happen between First Nations or other First Nations that are legalizing cannabis through their own systems. And so that political conversation about how these systems interact might be an opportunity to make a very valuable process chain or supply chain for cannabis.
So this idea, I know I’ve seen some discussions about this, about the eligibility for license holders, and I just have to say that we’ve done some additional work on the eligibility requirements, but just a standard eligibility is a community member, nineteen years or older, a resident, and we put a star or asterix by this, no criminal record of an indictable offence, because we actually have given the board some discretion on that matter.
And then there’s other types of license holders such as Band empowered entity, there might be a need. I guess we’d have to have more discussion on whether or not we’re filling the whole system of seed to sale. There might be a need to have a Band empowered entity, as an example, and that might not be the next example, maybe the distribution company has to be a Band empowered company. So again, I don’t know what is happening from seed to sale beyond visiting some of your dispensaries. But I think that there has to be a really important conversation about how is that actually going to work.
So there are other types of entities that are considered for licenses, and again, this is a system that has to work in the community. And there may be opportunities, or maybe you already have established partnerships with non-Band members, so we’ve certainly had that consideration in creating the eligibility for licenses.
So getting back to the idea about the eligibility of license holders, I’ve heard your Chief say this in meetings with other governments, that we can’t have too strict of a standard about eligibility within the Health Canada system. So we’ve taken that type of criticism to make sure that we have some discretion for the board to consider license holders who may have a very old criminal record or an indictable offence that has nothing to do, or no impact on their ability to be a license holder and to comply with the regulatory regime itself.
What we’ve given to the board is the ability to waive this limitation if… and you see the 1, 2, and 3 in the second paragraph… if given the circumstances of the offense, the character of the license holder and the impact of the safety and reputation of the community, they can waive that limitation of, or the exclusion of license holders having a criminal offence or an indictable offence. Also we thought it was important to restrict license holders who have a criminal record related to organized crime or drug offenses, and that is old offenses, not other types of charges.
So one of the things that I wanted to explain, just because that agency is [inaudible 22:02], but I just wanted to explain this section, because Health Canada is not… It’s not unlike Health Canada coming to inspect restaurants or going to inspect septic fields. It’s that type of engagement with Health Canada in the law. It’s not about Health Canada’s cannabis, so the cannabis related regulations come into your law. So I just wanted to highlight this, if you see this in the law. It’s more about Health Canada’s type of… the common types of inspections they do in Tyendinaga related to health and safety for food service and septic fields.
So the retail licenses… and again, this is in response to a lot of concerns that we’ve heard from community members about the number of activities that’s going on in the community. Not nuisance complaints, but just to let people quietly enjoy their property. So there’s a schedule in the law, if you flip to the back of the law, you can see specific locations, very specific locations, whether it’s restrictions from there being retail stores. We just thought that was the best way to balance those interests and to ensure that people are aware. So that’s something you would have to look at, whether or not you’re captured by this restriction.
We also thought that it was important now to have that on the schedule. This is normally under the law, it’s something that the board itself would determine, but in order to have transparency and to give you some notice, we thought it was important to put some of those locations in that schedule for your consideration.
Also there’s some restrictions on the resale stores themselves, and this is just common sense types of restrictions. The retail stores can’t sell to individuals that are not nineteen years of age or older. The stores shouldn’t be selling to anybody that is intoxicated. The stores shouldn’t be selling to an individual that is likely a source of supply to the illicit industry or to young people. The stores should not sell, or cannot sell cannabis in their [inaudible 24:39] that’s in excess of the amounts that are in the regulations, and should not sell grey or black market cannabis. Grey or black market meaning not licensed by Tyendinaga.
So the Cannabis Control Board is something that has to be developed, so this is sort of the next step with the Cannabis Control Board. This is the independent regulator in the community who will administer the law, and also there’s going to be a specific regulation that’s designed to heed their rules and how they make decisions and making sure they’re making good decisions on behalf of the community. But the board is mainly responsible for the licensing regimes, so they have the power to issue, suspend, and revoke licenses.
And they will be responsible for regulating and monitoring compliance, also investigating, inspecting the premises and the activities around cannabis. And the board has been limited on the licenses issued in any category. It’s a power given to them but not necessarily a power that they are required to use.
So the board structure is arm’s length from council and from the council’s administration. It’s a five member board. So the experts are the two members appointed by council, and then there’s also three members who are elected, so the three members of the board would be elected individuals on the board. Again, there are some requirements for this board. They can’t have a criminal record, they also have to consent for the background check. And they have to provide personal written references. These board members need to highlight that they have a good reputation and good and sound judgement.
So the appointed members, preference will be given to community members, but these two board members, one may not be a board member depending on the expertise needed for the board. They have to be 21 years old, preference will be given to residents of the community. They must not have any interest in a private entity that has applied for and been granted a license in the law. And they can’t have any association or affiliation with criminal organizations. And if they have… basically they’re restricted… They can’t be a board member if they have a family member or an individual who resides with them that has an interest in the cannabis industry in Tyendinaga.
The elected members serve different requirements… these are [inaudible 27:51] on the board. So they have not been bankrupt or not been an undiscovered bankrupt person. They don’t have to be 21, but they should be 19. They have no ownership interest in cannabis license, and in order for this nomination process to work and in trying to be voted in through an election, we have to make sure that they’re eligible on a list, but also that they’re… one of the requirements will be, because we don’t want to create initial costs, we also require that the individuals that are running for this election can also come to the meetings on their own personal expenses. That will be a requirement. And no association or affiliation with criminal organizations.
So we also to make sure that if board members are not acting properly or rationally or outside of the rules, we have to have sections in the regulation about removal, a section in the law about removal. And so it has to be reasonable cause, but the Chief and council have the exceptional power to remove board members, and there has to be certain grounds that are highlighted in the law, reason to remove board members.
So the board is ultimately responsible for also creating some of the rules that I won’t be able to explain today because what we’ve done is we’ve drafted this law for your consideration, but we’ve also empowered the board itself to create rules that make this system work, this system of licensing and legalization work for your community. So they’re empowered to, for example, set the standards and the testing procedures. You can’t ask me about that because I don’t know. So basically to make sure that we meet all the purposes of this legalization regime, to put those rules in place.
They’ll set the licensing fees, as well as any conditions that might be required for some of the licenses. So again, it’s a board of community members mostly, but there are some merit appointments so that we may have to bring in somebody with some exceptional cannabis experience to make rules that just make sense for the system to work.
The board is also accountable to you. They’ll be accountable through an outlet of the licensing fees. And they also have to have… because the law mandates them to have an AGM so that they’ll come and talk to you and you can have a Q&A about how they’re doing. And the board will be required in the law at times to consult, in particular prior to creating the licensing fees, there is a requirement that they consult stakeholders to make sure that the licensing fees are within a range that will allow the system to work.
So there are several other ways to do a cannabis control law. It was my opinion and my advice that we don’t want to have a law that has a whole bunch of offences in it. What this is, is a law of licensing. It’s the licensing itself that will enforce the legalization. Now this is going to require dialogue in building solidarity around this licensing regime to work, because it needs to be set up so that… I guess the licensees need to see the benefit of keeping that license. And we’ve tried to set up this regime so that it has value. It has value to license holders.
So the board enforcement is just basically about the powers of the board to revoke or suspend a license, but also possibly this is your way into potentially a regime that is safer, less risky, more legitimate, and hopefully all those other things that we know that are barriers for dispensary owners, for example banking. We can work on a system that is recognized and legitimate for all of those things, so that you can run your business like a business.
There will also be compliance officers in the system. Compliance officers are sort of what will make this system work so that everybody is in compliance and if not in compliance, it’s a corrective system so that they’ll work with you to make sure that you’re in compliance with your licensing conditions.
So many of the things that we’re mostly worried about is any types of challenges to the law. So we put together sort of a checklist of what we need to see in the board regulation. So beyond the law, the board rules will have to ensure that the board is making good decisions that don’t end up in some Settler’s Court. So we’re putting extra effort in making sure that the regulatory environment is fair and that if a decision is made that is in some way unfair or unjust or doesn’t make any sense, that there’s a right for reconsideration or there’s other procedural fairness rights inside of the system.
Also the law contemplates a review committee. So the review committee would not be Chief and council. It would be another independent committee that could review decisions that might not be serttled that were made by the board. So for me, I’m just trying to make sure that the law is something that’s enforceable, the law is something that people stand behind, and it’s a law [inaudible 35:02] it will withstand court scrutiny.
So the next step, this is the last slide. The next step is this ratification vote of the law, and again, we’re going to stay longer to answer any questions you have about the law. With the establishment of the Cannabis Control Board would happen if the ratification vote is positive. If the community ratifies this law, then we’ll have to establish the Cannabis Control Board, establish the final rules and the regulations for the board, and the process to appoint, and elect the board members [inaudible 35:43]. Training of the board members will be key, creating a rational, legitimate legal system. And the board itself has a bit of power to create regulations and the application process. And so the licensing regime will commence at that time.
So that’s the end of the presentation. And I think there’s another microphone there. If there are any questions, I would be happy to hear them.
Community Member: So I have a few specific questions in regard to specific points and sections. Some of these will probably just be clarifying the language. So the first question I have specifically was in Section 8, the definition section. The definition of cultivator means holder of a valid standard cultivation license or a micro cultivation license from Health Canada. So that language in other definitions include the board or Health Canada. Is there a specific reason that the cultivator section does not include the language by both the board or Health Canada?
Sara Mainville: I think there was just a recognition that if a cultivator did get licensed by Health Canada and wanted to interact with your system, it just leaves the door open for some interaction between your system and a Health Canada licensed standard cultivation facility. It’s more about the need to have supply for First Nations more than anything. I think the idea is that all micro cultivation would probably best supply the Tyendinaga licensing.
Community Member: So the fact that the line with Health Canada can be included [inaudible 38:44] concerned, but the fact that the language by both the board for Health Canada is not included in that specific definition. But again, that may just be a language clerical error, but that was my main concern with that question.
The second question is, I noticed there’s language that medical cannabis dispensaries and recreational or adult use dispensaries are separated in this law, but it doesn’t necessarily say how a medical cannabis dispensary will be distinguished from a recreational. Is there anything you can clarify about that?
Sara Mainville: So my opinion is based on the idea that you’re competing or having to oust federal jurisdiction, isn’t that the medical cannabis dispensary, it is only the federal government that licenses in the federal regime. You’re not… An easier challenge to oust the provincial licensing regime. It’s a more difficult challenge to oust the federal. So we’re going to work harder on making sure that we’re protecting the jurisdiction if the board is going to license medical cannabis, we’re going to take some extra steps just to make sure that we change that license in a way that protects the jurisdiction of Tyendinaga.
If we’re competing against federal laws, there’s a bit of a difference than competing with provincial laws. But the other thing is, unlike a retail store, if there’s a medical dispensary, there’s probably a need to regulate the type of information that’s being shared with the customer. I am kind of concerned about dispensaries collecting personal health information.
So making sure that we have a sound regime for the collection of information, if there’s any, I would probably at this moment in time, say don’t allow them to collect personal health information. But also to regulate the types of health benefits that can be… That type of information that can be shared with consumers because again, you’re bringing in a challenge with the federal and provincial regimes because of course that’s highly restricted, very much restricted in the provincial licensing regime. So again, I am trying very much to protect the jurisdiction [inaudible 41:28].
Community Member: So I believe you were pretty clear that this law pertains solely to commercial practices, but just to clarify because this doesn’t seem to explicitly prohibit or allow personal cultivation of the standard four plants that’s legal across Canada. I assume this would not interfere with that?
Sara Mainville: So my advice would be that’s going to be hard to enforce any different types of rules outside of what’s already in the Federal Cannabis Act. So the Federal Cannabis Act will… and if the federal government wants to come in and enforce those rules, that’s a government to government discussion between Tyendinaga and Health Canada. But we just don’t want to go there. There’s so much other activity that has to be licensed, personal growth is not…
Community Member: Yeah, but the sections that prohibit cultivation, for example, wouldn’t apply to that.
Sara Mainville: It would apply if that growing is for commercial purposes.
Community Member: I think that was pretty much all my questions.
Sara Mainville: The other thing too is I brought a number of cards here for you to fill in. If you can’t think of the question, or you don’t want to say the question in public, I have cards so that you can email or call me for other questions you may not want to say in this forum.
Community Member: I just have a quick question about advertising and promotion, which is forbidden under the Cannabis Act. Is that going to be something that’s going to be different in the territorial license?
Sara Mainville: So the board is empowered to do so, but again, any new rule that the board creates, there has to be a consultation with the community about that. So I think that, again, the advice that I’m going to give the community, and to the board, and to all of you is that as much as possible, you don’t want to be too far afield of what that other law is trying to do, which is keeping this culture away from young people. And so I think that fundamentally is what the board will be concerned with, is keeping the cannabis culture away from young people.
Community Member: So if territorial broadasters located on the territory will they be able to advertise and promote? I think off the reservation probably will be difficult.
Sara Mainville: So the board will consider those types of restrictions. I think what we’re going to probably do is we’re going to serve as many of the comparables for consideration of the board. And again, like any good regulator, they’re doing proper consultation to balance the interest and make the proper rules that fit for Tyendinaga.
Community Member: I wondered if you could comment on a retail licensing, it’s 17, and 17.1 reads: the board will not issue or renew a retail license to a person who intends to sell recreational cannabis from a retail store that is located, they’ve got A and then B is the one that I’m concerned about, in an area where it’s likely to disturb or endanger the community or the people, I guess, as determined by the board. Can you comment further on that?
Sara Mainville: So I would refer you right to Schedule 1 of the law. So those are the locations. So in the law, in the back of the law there’s the Schedule 1. So our advice is that’s the purpose is to protect the… We’ve heard valid concerns about some of the impacts on the community because of the activity that’s going on. So there is a Schedule 1, and if you look at the Schedule 1, you will see some of the locations where cannabis retail stores are prohibited. So the restriction is those specific locations, three hundred meters from those specific locations. So it’s at the end. It’s about the third line.
Community Member: I’ve just taken a very quick look at that, but I don’t believe that I see in there actual neighbourhoods that are disrupted completely with regard to traffic and the type of traffic that is normally involved with this type of activity. And we talked as well about the safety and wellbeing of the community, I would draw your attention, and everybody’s attention as well, to the fact that these outlets, these shops do tend to attract an undesirable, in many ways, opportunity for people to disrupt the normal activity within many neighbourhoods. So I just want to make that point.
Sara Mainville: And so the Schedule 1 is something that the board can… The board is empowered to add to or delete those specific locations in the three hundred meter radius of Schedule 1. So if I were a community member and I had a specific location where I wanted that prohibition, I think I would go to an AGM with the board, or see your Chief and Council and make that request. But for now, the schedule, it is a sort of balancing of the interests, and hopefully somewhat complete, but we understand that there are probably some important locations that are missing from that schedule. Any other questions?
Community Member: I just have a question about the medical marijuana that we talked about. I was just reviewing your website. You’re from Couchiching FN?
Sara Mainville: Yes.
Community Member: And you do these licensing things you’ve done with other communities?
Sara Mainville: Yes, actually it’s in southern Ontario.
Community Member: Are they all similar?
Sara Mainville: No, they’re quite… So I know that there’s some communities that have grabbed some of these laws and just sort of adopted it for themselves. What I try to do with the communities that I work with, is I start with the policy decisions that have to be made for a law, and have the community make policy decisions, then draft the law normally.
Under these circumstances, because of the timeframe that we had, we wanted to beat the legalization on October 17 [inaudible 49:24] kind of late. We actually started with… and I think this is probably common knowledge, we started with Kahnawake’s law and we’ve changed it pretty significantly. But that’s how that happened. But a lot of the laws that I’ve worked on are quite similar, that it’s based on the quality of choices that the community makes.
Community Member: I’m just wondering if you can tell me if you reviewed the decision that came down by Justice Edward and the report made in 2014 on the J.J. case in Toronto. And that ruling specifically talks about the inherent pre-contact standard right for Mohawk people to engage in taking care medically traditionally healthcare under provisions that we choose.
And I guess I’m asking just for your opinion whether or not this is an attempt to supersede that, or why do we have to talk about competing with the federal government when we already have a court decision that’s come down in our favour, and one that can easily be applied to medical marijuana. And if that’s the case, then our stores would be otherwise exempt from a lot of the provisions that we’re talking about in here.
Sara Mainville: I wish law was that easy. So generally, what we are trying to do is to make sure that first and foremost, we’re doing what the community wants the law to do. That decision is not, in my opinion, [inaudible 51:15] opinion, it’s not as applicable as I think you think it is. Obviously we have that strong… we share that view on the importance of exercise of jurisdiction, and that view about [inaudible 51:39], that there’s existing rights there, we shouldn’t have to go to court and to evidence that you have that right.
Unfortunately with the medical stores, you are going to have to do that, despite that case being in the common law. You’re just going to have to do it. So my advice has been to carefully not just have a strategy, but have a methodology that increases the chance that first and foremost, your medical dispensary license isn’t going to be challenged. But if it’s challenged, that you have an easier way, rather than having to go through [inaudible 52:22], you have an easier way to defend that license.
Community Member: I don’t think that’s [inaudible 52:29] analysis. I think that that’s one that’s already been taken. And for people that don’t know, there’s a little girl in Six Nations who was diagnosed with leukemia, and she was being forced into chemotherapy at the Hamilton hospital. And they didn’t want to prescribe to the chemotherapy regime. And what they did was they went to the States… And I don’t agree with it personally. I went through it with my own daughter, and we went through conventional treatments, and you don’t survive if you don’t.
But in that decision, what he found was that there was a right that predated to white people coming here, which said that Mohawk people have the right to take care of one another, to engage in the administration of healthcare as we saw fit. And what he did was, he struck down that, and he said that they have the right to be exempt from going through chemotherapy for their daughter, which would have been her death. Ultimately, they did go through chemotherapy and they engaged in that.
I guess what I’m saying is you’re talking about a medical license. I’m talking about the common practice of taking care of individuals here within the community, other First Nations people, maybe non-status other people that contain medical license that come forward, that there is a practice that doesn’t have to fall into a medical marijuana licensing category under that decision. It can be done under the means and the traditional historical ways that we have gone through that.
And so, I’m not trying to engage in a conflict, I’m just concerned that when a decision which I considered to be one of paramount importance, and the recognition of what we’re all talking about, our right to self-determination and sovereignty and without interference, that it could be neglected. Or in the alternative, if not ignored then incorporated into the advantages that they can be used in the creation of community rules and regulations. And I just see it as a missed opportunity in your proposal.
Sara Mainville: There’s two things that I just want to mention. I don’t want to have a debate about this. But the one thing is that the medical license is for commercial purposes. So it’s not about personal use and it’s not about traditional healing. And I don’t know if there’s actually going to be a conflict with some kind of license not being given or what have you. But what I’m trying to do is to create a legally enforceable licensing regime for selling medical cannabis to outsiders.
And so it’s going to be really hard to use that analysis and that particular case that is very private and personal, and frankly was under a different government. Kathleen Wynne I know personally [inaudible 56:02], I know personally Kathleen Wynne did not want to intervene in the case. She wanted to…
Community Member: Yeah but this isn’t in regards to whether she intervened. It’s the decision of the courts.
Sara Mainville: It’s a decision that there’s a very carefully fashioned government agreement not to appeal.
Community Member: Right and to take the judgement one step further, the United Nations declaration on children’s rights, which went further and said that of course the rights of the child had to be [inaudible 56:37].
Sara Mainville: I understand that.
Community Member: Well even then in the state sense that [inaudible 56:45] exclusions for people who are under 19 or under 21 that consume marijuana, and certainly there’s been a lot of different studies that have looked at the benefits of medical marijuana with children with other disorders. And certainly my daughter, when she was in Sick Kids, she was diagnosed THC as the pain relief and dealing with the effects of chemotherapy. So all I’m saying is for the community it’s something that needs to be considered.
And if I could just jump to the second point, one of the primary issues that has happened in the absence, I guess, of regulations or town law or traditional approaches or whatever. The last six months, it’s been kind of a mob mentality of dealing with different situations as they pop up. And you said on one of your slides that this is to deter illicit and illegal activity of organized crime.
And maybe I didn’t read it, but simply structuring community regulations, there’s nothing in here that deters organized crime or illicit activities from occurring. I think the gist of what you’re suggesting is that if the marijuana comes from a production facility, then as long as you’re not buying from some organization that has a criminal element or is criminally organized, then that’s the extent. But that’s not the principal problem that we’re dealing with here.
A lot of it has to do with people in our community that otherwise want to go into the industry who can’t afford to go into the industry, or people who are approached by outside people who want to engage in the industry, and we have situations… we’ve got storefront Indians that are running dispensaries on behalf of questionable or suspect people and outsiders.
And frankly, it’s obvious to most people, there’s been dispensaries that have sold other drugs that have been… There’s talk of, right now there’s magic mushrooms, everybody wants to sell magic mushrooms. There’s microdosing of LSD studies out of California and people are talking about well, let’s microdose LSD to deal with depression. There’s methamphetamine that’s being talked about being used as a possible cure for kids that have ADHD. And the list goes on. People have talked about peyote.
So when we’re talking about keeping out organized crime, I want you to tell me how does this work to prevent that. And if there are mechanisms that can deal with that and straightforward ideas, why aren’t they being included in this if that’s the problem that we’re facing here. I appreciate what Mike said very much about the issue of traffic and safety. We’ve had two overdoses in this community. One recently. One that resulted in a death and one that resulted in a fifteen year old boy being taken to KCH. And that’s my concern.
And so if we set it out that if people want to sell this, if there’s no limit to what people want to sell, if the people don’t have the fortitude within themselves and the values of Mohawk people to say “I’m not going to sell crack-cocaine to the kids in the subdivision and make two dollars off a pill when I sell it to someone,” if people don’t maintain those values, then that has to be regulated, then why isn’t it included in here?
Sara Mainville: I think those are points well taken. I think we’ve seen some of that information in some of the community discussion and we’re certainly aware of it. So the law frames any of those powers for the board to react to those situations, and the board can create rules. But I guess the next step would be how far down that regulatory road do you want the board to go. And so –
Community Member: [Inaudible 1:01:50 to 1:02:13]
Sara Mainville: I’ve definitely heard this comment and I agree with the comment. And it’s not my role to help on those things, but I definitely have heard that. But we also know that there is a strong… I think the country is watching your community and what you’re doing about this. [Inaudible 1:02:39] you should have a leadership role regarding cannabis and so I hope [inaudible 1:02:45] you all stand behind, and maybe that will be the prescription after you work on other drugs that are causing more problems in the community. I can’t respond to that.
Community Member: All I’m saying is that if a store is selling and it’s clearlyselling, what’s the consequences? You can say, well we’ll leave it up to the board to regulate everything. That’s crazy. If you’re talking about the fact that I don’t have the THC content on the bottle or that I don’t have the code to be able to track this drug seed to sale and know where it is at any given time so I can account for it in my inventory, that you can specifically identify those things.
But isn’t it possible just to say if you’re selling this shit, you’re not going to be in business, we’ll pull your licensing. If you’re selling this shit, we’ll pull your license. Can’t we say that in the regulations? So you can do it out of your house or out of the trunk of your car, but you’re not going to do it in a storefront business along the highway and allow people to come in, or be a transfer point between Toronto and Montreal for cocaine distribution.
If you’re found to be engaged in that, then it should say if you want real regulations, then you’re not in business. If people can’t decide for themselves in our community, our values, when we’re talking about for the benefit of our kids [inaudible 1:04:36]. People had to be told that you can’t put a dispensary next to a park. The absurdity that people don’t know that you don’t put a dispensary in a place where kids are going to be locating, white people know this, but we should know that. And so when we have to start telling those things, maybe we have to be crystal clear that you’re not going to be able to enjoy the benefits of the cannabis industry if you’re going to be selling shit to our kids.
Sara Mainville: Absolutely. And so again, there’s some critical conversations that have to happen, and I think that there has to be… the community has to figure this out, the cannabis question, but also the drug issue, the enforcement issue. But I think that’s exercising jurisdiction is a really important thing because self-regulation just bites in to all these other problems that we know that are coming into your community.
And so I just think that it’s a key development for your community, the regulation itself and the law. But definitely those comments, I think are… I mean, I come from a First Nations that faces the same issues. So the community has… by working together, the community has the solution. But the divisions or whatever that’s being caused around cannabis is not helping the situation. Self-regulation is just not going to work here. Any other questions?
Community Member: Yes. I guess before I get into all those details, I want to say that ultimately I believe there’s a necessity for regulation. But right off the hop, I’m looking at this which was given to me about five minutes before we started, which I find extremely frustrating. If you want to have a valid conversation with the community, then if you have a piece of paper where you have it given to you ahead of time. Most of us are extremely busy with our lives and to be called to a meeting to have a conversation for the very first time about this, which has been called a law, is very frustrating to me.
But ultimately, prior to that, when I look at it I think, so we have an elected system who really, an extension of the federal government, that is proposing in this document to protect us from the federal government and the provincial government. It’s like you’re a solicitor, how do you deal with that in your head? Because it seems to me like it’s sort of has that oxymoron kind of a concept for me. And then on top of it, if the council is trying to help us by pulling together a regulation format for us to work with as a community, why is it that they have the ultimate authority by being the people who are going to put forward to members of this miracle board, which really like, just listening to Don, and I’m sure there’s lots of others who have concerns that really are not about cannabis.
It’s really about all the other things that certain people have to be doing and nothing has been done about it. And certain people being non-Band members at all while we want to make sur that we’re able to sell our product to non-Band members which is the case in much of businesses that go on here. We make our money from non-Band members that come to buy our gasoline, to buy cigarettes, etc.
I just feel like how do we get there, and how does that become something that the community feels that they’re part of, if it’s already being called the law and we get it in a form like this where really it doesn’t appear to me that community has a lot of, let’s say, authority because we’re going to have these, like I said, exceptional board members are going to become… or about three of them are just community members, and there’s going to be so many restrictions on them because let’s not forget, we’re a small community and most of us are related to others in some way or another that may or may not be involved with the business.
So I’m just feeling a little bit frustrated and I would like to hear from you how you see the council being the ones in charge of this as a legitimate way of presenting it to the community, when they are part of the federal entity. They’re not really representing the people here. They’re representing the Indian Act and what they can do with the Indian Act. I’m just saying, even though I realize the intentions are good, how do we really justify that in our minds, that that’s a good idea?
Sara Mainville: So yeah, I understand the criticisms and I understand some of the gaps that are missing in asserting legal authority for your community because of this imposition of the Indian Act and the imposition of a Chief and Council when you have a traditional system. That said, we know that there are things that happening here that shouldn’t be happening, and there needs to be rules. What we’re trying to do, again, really it is a very well-intentioned Chief and Council trying to find a solution.
And leaving it to a consultation process that has been happening, I think probably more comprehensively in your community than a lot of other communities, which I think is a good thing. We have seen a lot of comments and ideas around this law that are actually in the law because of consultation efforts made by the administration and the Chief and Council. So those are good things. The practical reality is you need to do something, so what we’re trying to do with the board is to create something that, again, good ideas coming from the committee, the committee has been working in consultation with both legal counsel and the Chief and Council.
The idea is that the board being representative with the three elected members, and through the mandates, the point is to find understanding that it is a small community, there may be a need to appoint someone from outside of the community with considerable expertise about enforcement, and maybe some of the issues and comments that were brought up today, this evening. But have a five member board that is independent enough to make real regulatory decisions that work in the community.
I think it’s a good practical solution. So I think the law itself is written in a way that empowers you to create additional rules that, through the board and through the board’s consultation with your community, that fit with the practical reality of what’s happening here. Honestly, I don’t know what’s happening… to the full extent, what’s happening in the various dispensaries, and where you’re getting your cannabis from. It’s all of those things.
But I think as long as we open up a dialogue about transparency and accountability, you can create an actual real cannabis solution. I believe in the plant. I’m somebody that’s been working in cannabis for a couple of years now. I do believe in the plant. I’ve had family members benefitting from that plant.
But again, we’ve done our best, through this law, that with the good intentions of the people that are involved here, [inaudible 1:13:14] has been working very hard on trying to help us find solutions. These forums, I think are a good way to get more information. But I think just practically, we’re just trying our best to find a way to balance the many varied interests here. And I don’t think it’s something that you should just dismiss. I think you should look at the law, talk about it, how’s it going to work. There are solutions inside of it.
But there is more work to do. So the comments and the frustration, I hear loud and clear. It’s the beginning of something I think that’s workable for everybody we are honestly wanting to create a benefit in the community, honestly. But also we did hear loud and clear the many concerns from the residents, and we’re trying to correct those issues are well. Sometimes it’s hard to read words on a page like that, but we’re trying to protect some of the clear elements that we think that might be attractive to the community and hear them, but there’s definitely more that can me done.
Community Member: I’m just saying that I guess the other thing that just jumps into my mind is, we’re talking about this regulatory board, the enforcer. We’re saying we’re trying to protect people through this law, from provincial legislation. If somebody is in violation, who are you going to call?
Like if I’m a board member and I say “You’re operating illegally. We’re revoking your license.” But you still want to operate, what am I going to do then? Is that when you’re going to say okay, you’re violating our law, or calling in the guys from outside? Or now the police service in Tyendinaga are going to take care of you? Again, there’s a lot of things that leave it wide open for what’s the enforcement going to be like.
Sara Mainville: So I think process-wise that the licensing process and the applications will create some transparency on what’s actually happening in some of these storefronts so that we will actually see inside of the operations and see what’s happening. And that transparency itself might open the doors. And maybe there’s some misperceptions of what’s actually happening in the community.
Community Member: That’s not answering the question.
Sara Mainville: That’s not answering the question?
Community Member: No.
Sara Mainville: So the actual enforcement mechanism is losing your license. What happens if you lose your license? Well, the board is going to… The board will not be shielding that operation from other laws. So it could be… and this is probably the most immediate solution, is it could be that the Federal Cannabis Act is enforceable. Or it could be, and these discussions that we’ve had with various members, is it could be that we need to draft some enforcement of justice types of offences for the community. But that’s not something that’s going to be immediately available. So I think the immediate answer is the Federal Cannabis Act is enforceable.
Community Member: So if that become enforceable later on, you get manipulated out of your own benefits. How does that benefit us? What happens if it ends up screwing us in the end, and well all say okay. Or what happens if we just say no? We’re not going to do that. Then we’re not under your protection. We’re not now, really. I just don’t want to have anybody screwed over in the end because they said okay, well this seems like a good thing to do. Everybody knows that there’s been some things have happened in this community presently. You know what I mean? You can’t be kind of manipulating the value [inaudible 1:17:55] and then say oh, well you want to do it, we’re going to [inaudible 1:17:59].
Sara Mainville: I mean, that’s the problem of the law. A legal rule is only enforceable if the offence is found. So if, for example, I think the best case scenario is that the businesses involved in cannabis are solidly behind this licensing regime, because it gives you enough benefit that you feel like you have to protect it. And if you all feel that you have solidarity behind this law and this exercise of jurisdiction by your community, then you create the rules that everybody wants to see enforced. But that’s the way law works.
If we’re in a lawless community where nobody is following the rules, then the rules are not worth much more than the paper it’s written on. So I think it’s really, really important to ensure that this regime is seen as legitimate, not just here in the community, but to your neighbours and to the outside communities and to the consumers. Maybe it’s the homemade solution that other communities can see as something that’s in the model for other communities [inaudible 1:19:37].
But the major thing, I think… the major thing about the enforceability of this law is that there has to be a regulator that’s not interested in the business, that’s outside and independent from the business itself. So it’s setting rules that make sense for the community so that some of those resident concerns of the community that we heard, we’re finding a way to deal with it.
But the Federal Cannabis Act is basically what… the impetus about this is there is legal cannabis in Canada and I think what we’re trying to say is there is also legal avenue of creating and selling cannabis in Tyendinaga, but we all have to be… the community orientation is that you have to try to be all unified in the fact that there shouldn’t be any unlicensed activity in the community. I can’t say much more than that because I know that there’s still a lot of work to do. The board still has to do some work to create the enforceability around this regime.
But I’m hopeful that we can create a system of law here that makes it a benefit, that protection I guess, inside of the law and inside of licensing has some value for the business owners. That’s what we’re working for. I know it’s not the answer that everybody wants to hear, but that’s really what we’re working for.
Community Member: Hi. Just a simple question regarding the ratification vote. In the vote, is it going to be holistic? And this is the whole law, and you’re going to vote on the law as a whole, or are we going to go through section one through nine in the vote? And the reason I ask is, for example, the Schedule 1 is restricted public areas. Let’s say the community decides that they don’t agree with the majority of the law, but they do agree with Section 1, restricted public areas section of this draft. If you break it up, then at least we can at least move forward with, for example, that [inaudible 1:22:22] whole vote, and everybody says no for one specific reason, then I guess [inaudible 1:22:33]. So the question is, how is the vote going to look?
Sara Mainville: So again, that’s another question that I don’t have the answer for. We did have a discussion about that, but if it’s just a yes or no question, we don’t know the reasoning why the no came to be. So that actually might be one of the solutions as to not to have too complex of a ratification, but to have one by the way where you know that some things are incredibly controversial where it might defeat the law, that we might pull some of that out and have separate questions on it.
But again, that’s the direction that we’re going to receive from the committee and the Chief and Council. And one of the suggestions I had is to work with a public opinions company because those folks raise questions more strategically than I probably could. So there are ideas about how to get a ratification properly so that potentially [inaudible 1:23:45].
The other thing to keep in mind too is that legally, this interim cannabis regulation is still enforceable, but it’s not sort of being operationalized. It’s there. It’s there covering the field, so that the provincial and the feds have no room to operate here, so that [inaudible 1:24:05] as well.
Community Member: So my question might be a little bit… not super important. I also just wanted to quickly say I’m so grateful to be here with everybody tonight. Even though there’s some back and forth and we’re not really sure about a lot of things, that is the first step to figuring things out. But I did want to ask a little bit, because I don’t own a shop and I don’t [inaudible 1:24:40].
The idea of the transparency that we’re requesting the shops… I think it’s really important, but I also wonder if it’s totally unreasonable to ask the same for the board in terms of finding… Because if we’re having them pay for their memberships and all this, that maybe to have a little bit of transparency where their money is going and how things are working. I don’t know if that makes sense, but I was just kind of wondering about transparency going both ways because there is very valid reasons people are nervous about these systems coming in. So I’m just curious if that’s something…
And also in terms of like business licenses for the cannabis retailers and the industry there, is it going to be a similar aspect to other businesses that register, like the [inaudible 1:25:41] or whoever. Is it going to be similar in cost, is it going to similar in other aspects of that? Because I know it’s kind of a grey area right now. We don’t really know. But could it be [inaudible 1:25:53]?
Sara Mainville: Well, the one thing that we’re doing for the board is we’re trying to provide comparables for the licensing. So one of the comparables will be the existing licensing costs that actually exists in Tyendinaga, but also within other legalization regimes, so licensing fees there. One thing that we’ve heard loud and clear, so other communities that I work for have some kind of contribution fund. We’ve had that basically [inaudible 1:26:24] on that in this law. So there’s no such thing as sort of… in the Health Canada system, there’s a 2.3 percent regulatory fee. There’s nothing like this that empowers, for the board, to levy that type of fee in this system.
So the comparables are important, but also we’ll have to find a way to sustain the board and its regulations because it’s unlikely that the level of licensing fees at this point to pay for that system to work. So that’s another consideration for your community. So the transparency of the board in the law itself, the board has to have an annual general meeting open to the public. It also has to provide an audit of the budget that’s given to it from Chief and Council, all that stuff as well as the licensing fees that come in through the system, so that audit is also required.
The board regulation might also spell out… because there’s going to be rules to sort of operationalize the board, so there might be additional features in that regulation that also makes additional transparencies and accountabilities once it’s at the board. The law also says that the board has to be independent from Chief and Council and the community administration, which seems to be a feature that was wanted in the community, so that’s also something that’s required of the board.
Community Member: Hi. So I just have a couple of questions. One of them was [inaudible 1:28:05] and there are still some issues with the draft law that needs to work. And I think that in moving forward, if we can have a more transparent process, because I know that personally I asked the last time and it’s part my fault because I didn’t follow up, but who is the committee that’s working with yourself and council? So we did ask for names on that and we were told that we were going to get names and we did not get names. I don’t know if those names are available today.
Larry Hay: The request for those committee members are still a committee. We met on July 31 which was our last time to go over the most recent draft. And they made recommendations again and some of those changes of course were incorporated. Members of the committee, are you here? Simply put up your hand. Okay, there’s a few of us here. There’s still some that are missing. Shawn, I don’t know that you’re still on or not? No. Shawn has decided not.
Community Member:[Inaudible 1:29:03]
Larry Hay: Well that’s unfortunate because in this modern day and age, I would think you would have got all the messages. It wasn’t me doing this. I can’t speak to them, sorry.
Sara Mainville: So Chief and Council are here and they’ve had the request for a more transparent committee, [inaudible 1:29:36] for that request.
Community Member: Yeah. And then the other thing was, this is the second time we haven’t gotten the information prior to a meeting so that we can properly be able to review it and have questions. So [inaudible 1:29:48] because I did not have those sorts of questions [inaudible 1:29:52].
Larry Hay: Sure. And this really was meant to be a delivery, a presentation. It wasn’t even going to be a Q&A. It was to say here you go, have a look at this. We’ll explain it. It wasn’t to have a debate about it today.
Community Member: But I think in all fairness, Larry, we’re here, so there was this big race to get us in by October 17, we did it on the eve of. Now it’s almost a year later and we’re not seeing communication, no one knows what’s happening, we’re not seeing things on websites, that kind of thing, and then you… not you… unless it is you… But we’re getting this and we’re expected to read it. When is our next chance to ask questions and answers then if we’re not seeing regular meetings, we’re not seeing regular communication?
Larry Hay: Yeah, there has been a gap, I agree, since March we really haven’t done a whole lot with the community but there’s been reasons for that. To be perfectly frank, right up until now, like even this afternoon, there was still some tweaking going on in terms of the vision. So there’s no point in putting out a draft law that we know full well doesn’t represent an accurate picture of what it is you want. So that’s part of the problem is getting it as current as possible.
So now you have it, you will have ample time to look through it, there will be availability of the service offered up through email. I’m around to try and relay questions or try and make sure you understand. That’s critical before you take the vote. The power is in your hand, once you have a read through it.
Community Member: And I guess that’s kind of the other thing is that the words like ‘the power is in your hand’ and those such things are all great, and I appreciate that, however it doesn’t feel like that’s maybe what’s happening. And then we also can see in makeup of the board, that’s one of the things that indicates that it’s not happening, like two-fifths of the board members are actually appointed by Council. I guess maybe what is the conversation behind that so we can better understand why that decision was made.
Larry Hay: Yeah. Now that was an ask of the community to see that there were elected members to the board. The configuration –
Community Member: The elected ones I get. It’s the appointed ones –
Larry Hay: Okay, so the so-called appointed, how do you hire these people? You give them a paycheque. You’ve got to have a process. So there needs to be a hiring process. The only people in the community that have that ability right now is HR that’s attached to the administration.
Community Member: But you don’t hire a board.
Larry Hay: You’re going to hire two people who are experts. So that’s what I think is meant by that point.
Community Member: So then are they voting board members? Well they must be.
Larry Hay: Okay, so there’s another body of rules that will actually govern how that will work and operate. So that’s what they haven’t seen tonight, but that will be made available as well.
Community Member: Okay. So I personally don’t really like making new boards, and I guess then also the timeline. We’re looking at… we’re outside of a year, or we’re almost up to a year. We see the next steps but there’s no timelines assigned, and you can see that there’s a lot of work to be done. So can we maybe see a more comprehensive laid out plan so that we all know what we’re working toward, and we know [inaudible 1:33:05].
Larry Hay: That’s not unreasonable. I think that could be achieved. It would have to be through consultation with Chief and Council and everybody else.
Community Member: I’ll mention to you this, in [inaudible 1:33:18] Section 27, it mentions that the community vote and licensing will be available within six months after the consultation [inaudible 1:33:29] Mohawk of the Bay of Quinte.
Community Member: So that means six months from today?
Larry Hay: No. Six months from the time you vote.
Sara Mainville: It’s after the vote. So the law gets voted on. Potentially we don’t know what the vote result would be, would it be the full law as is. Or if we do something like one of the people suggested where some of the sections maybe we get a no on, so there might have to be like a reformulation of the law prior to being published on the website. And then six months after that publishing, that it’s enforceable.
Community Member: I don’t have a question, but I have more of a comment. My name is Tehonikonrathe. I sit with the Bear Clan of the Mohawk people in this community. And we haven’t been consulted by this board. Historically, what I know is when this man comes, [Pointing at Larry Hay] he’s trying to impose another government will on us. That’s what I know. Every time I see him, it’s another government’s will.
And here, we aren’t Canadian, we are not Canadian so Canadian law is something that we can respect, it’s something that we can mirror if we choose. It’s something that we can say we agree or we disagree with. And we have the authority ultimately of that, because this land was handed to us, the traditional people, not the MBQ.
The MBQ did not exist at the time the Simcoe Deed was written. This is our land, the people, not MBQ. And we have not had any consult or input into this draft of this law at all. We do have law. We have one. It’s 117 Wampums under the Kayenerekowa that dictates how we conduct this business, how we conduct the gas industry, how we conduct the cigarette industry. And we’ve been challenged in the ‘70s on the gas, in the ‘90s on the cigarettes by the Canadian government. And they did not win.
They’re trying again, once again to put us into a taxable income bracket over something that they aren’t getting their money from us. That’s the only reason they want in on this. Let’s face it. Let’s look at the bottom line. They’re looking at the dollar they’re missing out on. They’re not looking at our wellbeing, our welfare, or our children’s inherent right to govern this land. They’re looking at themselves.
I have family involved in this industry. I don’t own a dispensary. I work in one. When I look at this document, it’s a good document if you’re a Canadian Indian. It’s a good document for the Ojibwas. It’s a good document for the Algonquins. It’s a good document for the Hurons. It might even be a good document for us. But we haven’t had the opportunity as traditional people to even look at it.
There’s been a small group, and it’s always been a small group called the MBQ, I think about eight percent of our population voted for that MBQ at any given time throughout history. I could be wrong on the percentages, by a couple of points, but nationally it’s five percent. I gave us an extra three. I don’t think it’s too far off.
We have to look at our law. We have written… some members of our clan have written a law as well. We’d like it to be considered as well. It’s called Dusting Off the Path. You can find it dustingoffthepath.com on your electronic devices, and vote whether or not you want that one or this one.
I don’t know how we’re going to vote, but I do know that they are not the ultimate authority as they say in the text at 2.6 here. That Mohawk Council have the ultimate and rightful jurisdiction to regulate and control cannabis within Tyendinaga Mohawk territory. No, they do not. We do. We are the people that this land was given to under the Simcoe Deed, through the Crown.
We have not entered into any agreements with Canada, not ever. And this law will enter us into an agreement with Canada and make us Canadian Indians, which we are not. Make no mistake. We are not Canadian Indians. We live in Tyendinaga, Mohawk Territory. Those of you who are traditional, remember we had to go to the Supreme Court to get that “reserve” sign up and get the Mohawk Territory sign put up. Territory means your own government on your own land, practicing your own laws to your own people. That’s what it means. Reserve is a whole other thing, for Canadian Indians, [inaudible 1:38:56]. Thank you.
Sara Mainville: I hear you, but I’m not here to respond. Thank for that, though. Thank you.
Community Member: I was going to say something earlier, but after all the things that people said, I don’t really have much to say, I don’t think. Just one point caught my attention. Over the last year of meetings, it continues to be brought up over and over and over. People are talking about seer of outsiders’ influence or input or disruption in our lives and the way we do things and so on. I’m curious, maybe instead of the cannabis law, maybe we need to look at a membership bylaw to address the outsiders and address the bringing of outsiders’ business opportunity into our community, or making decisions about how things are operated.
I don’t see any of that in this at all. And I see a whole bunch of people who didn’t grow up here working on a law, and I have to say something, I heard last week too, and it offended me and I got upset and I’m trying hard not to get upset this time, this lawlessness word. This place is not lawless. I grew up here and there are a whole set of rules and laws that the people that grew up here live by that aren’t written down. And this place ain’t lawless at all.
And even with operating in the cannabis industry, we all know that it’s not lawless. And it’s offensive to hear that. You need to know that. Because I understand you don’t, maybe you don’t see it or can’t smell it, I don’t know. But I would. And I know that the people in this room that I’ve lived with, that I’ve seen either their children growing up or I watched as I was a child growing up, know these laws and rules and how this stuff gets managed and taken care of.
And it’s true. When the outsiders are allowed to run amok, they think this place is lawless. So they speed where the kids are playing, they spear too many fish and they don’t get out of the water. They think that it’s the Wild West and they break all of our laws and rules. So I’m curious about the Council taking into consideration that we look at some residency codes or some business codes to look at some rules maybe that we can get enforced to stop some of this outsider influence in our community.
Because our current situation is that as a community, often when there are undesirables, the community members will gather together and go and deal with it, and then they’re not here anymore. And maybe we need to consider how we address that issue because that seems to be the primary issues that’s been brought up about this cannabis thing, about health and safety, has been about this issue. Unless the real issue is about taxes and making money off it. And I’m concerned that that’s the case.
I hear you and I believe that you’re earnest in your words about us finding and navigating a path together. And I’m raising this because I’m concerned because I was told by one of the councillors that we were going to have a meeting and we were going to hear the final draft of this. And then I was told the following month we were going to have a vote. That’s what I was told. And then others here listen, and it sounds like it’s already passed council so now it’s matter of take this to the community and the community vote on, and if we vote yes or no.
And we’ve seen these funny things in the past where a [inaudible 1:43:33] community has a vote, maybe you know about a community like this, I don’t know. Where they have a vote and they have their choices, either a vote that… this new cannabis law or no cannabis. Well that’s guaranteed that the cannabis law will pass because no one in this community is going to say no cannabis. That’s not even a reasonable vote. I don’t know what the legal term is, but I think it would involve a lawsuit against all the people involved.
I’m concerned that we’re losing sight of what the real issue is here. And if the issue we’re concerned about outsiders and their influence and what they’re going to do in our community and causing trouble and not following the rules of this community, then maybe the ones who are coming here to try to help us need to know what the rules of our community are, so you know it’s not a lawless place.
And the thing that we need to look at, how do we address, are businesses being operated with outsiders making all the decisions. I agree with Don, that is the issue and he will drag them through all crazy and don’t care. And my own son died. He got hit by a car over here. Somebody was driving like a maniac because he was tired of waiting at a light. And he’s talking about Jada. My daughter was her schoolmate. These are issues we’re talking about that are very close to some of us. They not faraway fairy tales. And Jada is still alive.
I’m concerned that we’re going to get too excited about calling something a law that’s really a regulatory provision. Because I was in court not that long ago, and the judge said to me, Six Nations Band Council is making a cannabis law, and the judge said to me “I’m concerned that the people in that community are going to be forced and duped into believing that they are operating a legal and legitimate cannabis operation in the Six Nations, but they still can be dragged in front of me in this courtroom and the Cannabis Act is going to apply, not that cannabis law.
So I understand you’re a lawyer, and I’m concerned and I would like to know for sure, and I would like to see your legal opinion about how this possible cannabis law is going to supersede what the decision making of the courts and the judge and the Cannabis Act. Because otherwise we’re just being tricked and paying a whole bunch of money, because it ain’t going to mean anything. And you said something to us, you said about us being united, and get all united behind this thing. You don’t know something about us. We’re already united. They’re not here because they know how we are.
Whether we get behind this or whether we get behind something else or whether we just continue to be Mohawks and stand beside each other, we’re still united. And we need not be fearmongers and to be… well, if we don’t have this control board to provide us safety, we’re going to pay for our protection. This sort of sounds like extortion, I’m sorry. I don’t know. This don’t seem right to me. Anyways, I don’t have any more to say.
Sara Mainville: Thank you for sharing your concerns. I know that I said the word lawlessness. But I don’t want to insinuate that your community is without law. I don’t see any First Nations community in a… I have the upmost respect for the traditional legal institutions. And I have immense respect for all of that. And I hear your concerns and I am trying to, as carefully as possible, put together a set of rules that will withstand outside challenges. And frankly, we’re not there yet, but we’re getting there. And one of the big indicators of this legal legitimate law is once we have that ratification vote, but we’re not there yet and I don’t know if we’re there where we’re actually [inaudible 1:48:29].
I would like to hear some specific sections of the law that you don’t agree with or you don’t believe in, or some better ways of doing things, is the type of feedback we’d like to hear in the coming weeks. And that would get us towards where we are all more comfortable with the law and saying yes to the law. But again, there definitely has to be dialogue.
And I am not uncomfortable with any of this because it is because it’s a part of Indigenous lawmaking. We’re not in your lodge, and I understand that. There are traditional systems, but what you need to do as a community is to focus on creating a solution together and hearing each other and listening to each other. So thank you, everyone that shared your concerns. And I do hope that I [inaudible 1:49:32] the Chief and Council to keep this dialogue open.
Community Member: I’d like to say something. I’m a community member here, I’m pretty sure everybody can hear me. But I just want you to take this home when I say to you, our Chief and Council which you know is the federal government are put here to separate us by our people. That’s their main goal. And for them to do that, they bring in people like yourself. They don’t tell you the whole story. They tell you how our community fights for every single thing that we get. We fight for fishing, we fight for hunting, we fight for everything.
And if we open up those laws in your Canadian world for all of First Nations to do, they follow us. We set the rules for our own land. This is not Canada. This is our land. And as much the Chief and Council and people like that want to say that they’re telling you that you can draft the law, that law that you draft… Now when you think about this, when you go home and that passes, there are people in this community that will fight to the death. They will bring blood, they will bring as much carnage as has ever been done in our world [inaudible 1:50:53]. This will be a civil war that they won’t tell you about, because it’s the people that are here that have to fight it.
It’s for our kids who want to be able to make their own rules and their own laws. And what you’re doing is helping the federal government split us. But right now, Canada won’t move in on Tyendinaga. And when they do, they’ll have a fight. That’s what makes sovereign. Not a piece of paper that you’re going to have everybody go and say okay, this is going to make and protect us the most. To rely on that paper is an absolute foolish mistake by our people.
But if you want to push that onto our people and try to split them, I want you think about what you’re actually doing. They’ll just take money and then kill us. They’ll just say okay, well something needs to be done because these people don’t have anything. We have each other. We love each other. When our community comes together and they need stuff, it’s the people that own these businesses that pay for it. They don’t need to be asked. One of the greatest things that somebody [inaudible 1:52:11] capable of is that there is no hunger here, there’s no poverty. Anything that people need, they have it. That’s our community. That’s us. The Mohawk people. That is not Canada. We don’t trust Canada, never will.
They have beaten every single people that they have some difference with. And to try and to say that we will agree with anything, even looking at it, in my mind it’s completely preposterous. We can’t trust a single word that is written in their language. That’s what I wanted to say.
Community Member: My concern is the safety [inaudible 1:53:24] community. On the Schedule 1, [inaudible 1:53:29], apparently [inaudible 1:53:31]. Is that correct?
Sara Mainville: The schedule is for the businesses. The businesses are prohibited from being within three hundred meters of those specific locations.
Community Member: If they’re part of the restricted public areas, does that mean you can smoke anywhere?
Sara Mainville: So we’ve had a conversation with the Chief and Council about potentially… like if… So this law is not legislating or regulating the use of cannabis. It’s not. So there could be… potentially, there could be jurisdiction for the community to regulate where cannabis could be smoked. That would be like a smoking bylaw. A smoking bylaw or a smoking regulation.
Community Member: The reason I’m asking this is, it could be dangerous if anyone can go off and smoke anywhere they want without any regulation or law. And our community members are all in danger of being struck or run down by impaired drivers. It should [inaudible 1:54:56] another part of [inaudible 1:54:57] for this.
Sara Mainville: There is, in both the province and the federal government, there are laws that are about… within motor vehicle licensing, not being intoxicated when you’re operating the motor vehicle or a vessel. So those are in existing laws. So it’s the occupational health and safety regime that businesses can establish that you cannot be intoxicated in the workplace. That’s already there in the law. So the use of the cannabis is not a subject area for the law that you’re looking at. It’s not in there.
Community Member: It’s criminal to drive [inaudible 1:55:47]. If there’s nothing there, then [inaudible 1:55:56].
Sara Mainville: So if you look at page 5, section 3.3, it says federal laws regarding cannabis control and related criminal activity will continue to apply for the extent that they’re consistent with this law and regulatory framework. This just to say that laws have been changed to deal with cannabis use similarly to alcohol and intoxication. So those laws already exist and I don’t think we’ve heard any valid reason why Tyendinaga would want a change in that sort of regulatory environment.
Community Member: The other thing if you do that, I know there’s a law for that, but let’s just say you’re trying to regulate all of this within this…
Sara Mainville: Commercial business activity. That’s what the law is about. Commercial business activity.
Community Member: The other thing I’m concerned about is [inaudible 1:56:59]. I think it’s the Ontario Cannabis Act that there’s certain places that you can only smoke in places like a n open air patio. I see some [inaudible 1:57:14]. So what are we going to do to address that? Is there more [inaudible 1:57:26].
Sara Mainville: I think this is forum with different concerns, but for purposes of this law, we’re… So we’re not touching those types of prohibitions, but in [inaudible 1:57:47], legislature around smoking, so it’s similar… So the regime is regulated under smoking acts, like for the province, you can’t smoke in hotel rooms unless they’re fully contained, etc. So that’s how those things are being enforced outside of this community. This community, I’ve talked to Chief and Council about if they wanted to, they could actually create a smoking bylaw or a smoking regulation to deal with it [inaudible 1:58:38].
Community Member: [Inaudible 1:58:40].
Sara Mainville: So they’re regulating it through community policies. So there is regulation. So it’s basically all of that activity just sort of follows the form of cigarette smoking. The schedule for the law is about commercial cannabis businesses. So those activities are prohibited in those specific locations.
It is pointed out by the Chief there is policy that restricts smoking which will… vaping and smoking cannabis. But personally, I don’t smoke or vape cannabis. I use that spray.
Question: [Inaudible 1:59:43]
Sara Mainville: So cannabis is used in different forms, but definitely before cannabis legalization, all of these public comments about using it where there are children around and all of that has been sort of dealt with in federal and conventional law. But beyond having the policy about no smoking in certain public buildings, your community does not have specific prohibitions against using cannabis –
Community Member: It’s not about smoking in public buildings, it’s smoking in the general public. Smoking drugs.
Sara Mainville: So for the most part, if you go into a lot of communities, you will smell cannabis on streets and such. And the fact that that –
Community Member: Well it’s something the cops here, there wouldn’t be much done about the impaired drivers and people that are driving –
Sara Mainville: I’m as concerned as you are about any intoxicated drivers, as much as alcohol and cannabis and all of those other intoxicants, that’s a common concern in any community.
Community Member: [Inaudible 2:01:05]
Sara Mainville: Thank you for your comment.
Community Member: A question I had is that, is this going to encompass also outside events in regards to like the Cannabis Cup and things like that. Is the board going to be looking at regulating that? Because to me, I’m sorry, and maybe I’ve missed the boat on this, but I don’t understand how we go from medical cannabis to having a Cannabis Cup and having excess amount of people come into a community. I think we’ve just actually been fortunate that no major issues have happened, but I think that the clock is certainly ticking on that. So in saying that, because it is potentially a licensed… could be a licensed store that is throwing these events, will this also be overseen by the board or how will those events be taken care of?
Sara Mainville: So the board has the power to create rules around advertising and promotions. So hearing your concern and your comment would be something for the board to look at. But there is no rules right now within the law that would restrict that type of activity beyond the fact that if there’s commercial business interest involved in that activity, it would have to be licensed. Sale to consumers would have to be licensed even in that event.
Community Member: So are we saying that the board is going to also make the conditions as to what actually deems a store to incur a license? Like in regards to a certain amount of people there that have a degree or whatever, or what is going to actually… or who determines who can actually get a license other than the fact that you’re from this community and you don’t have a criminal record.
Sara Mainville: So for the law itself, those are the prerequisites of the eligibility requirements, and there was no other eligibility requirements given to us to draft the law. But I think that within the rules around licensing and conditions, there might be a valid reason why you would have certain requirements of training for example. And so the board is empowered to require a certain amount of training for certain types of enterprises. So does that answer your question?
Community Member: Yeah.
Community Member: I have one question about the regulation of these things. It states that if you have a criminal record, you won’t be able to hold a license. So for our people here, the majority of them who ever stood on a line to fight for his own rights have criminal records. So that makes them unable to get a license. That does not make any sense to me because they’re the ones that have raised our kids and gave them the rights that they have now. I disagree one hundred percent with that.
Sara Mainville: So we’re just pointing on the slide to the discretion given to the board.
Community Member: That still will not work because even within this, you have not talked about the sovereign people that do live here. In your paper, you didn’t even list the longhouses that are on this territory or our traditional burial grounds. So to me, that takes a quarter of the people that live here off of the map to follow a law that they don’t abide by. They can’t, because you didn’t even have them in on it when you were making the rules.
Larry Hay: Maybe I can speak to that. There were a number of opportunities to attend these meetings. When I attempted to reach out to the various longhouses here, there are more than one, I certainly was able to speak with longhouses in other communities to get their views on the traditional perspective on the use of cannabis. But for some reason… and I approached you as well, if you remember back in early December, I said we’re having these consultations, please come to the meetings. You told me to tell the Chief and sit with his people.
Community Member: [Inaudible 2:06:23]
Larry Hay: So it’s unfair at this juncture, at the final draft, to say you weren’t consulted. We attempted… there was a time where we were very close to having the meeting, for whatever reason, they decided not to have that meeting.
Community Member: Because they don’t follow the MBQ.
Larry Hay: Well it was just to get your input. It wasn’t even to bind you by the law.
Community Member: [Inaudible 2:06:48] In essense, you are asking us to break our law.
Speaker: Fair enough. Your point is taken. Nobody wants to debate [inaudible 2:07:01].
Community Member: Well I’m one of the people that are willing to pick up a gun in time [inaudible 2:07:05]. I’m not a minority.
Chief RD Maracle: When this cannabis question came into being, I did ask the longhouse here, Janice Hill, where they stood. And the reply I got back was that it wasn’t their issue. And another longhouse from Hogansburg said that cannabis is a mind-altering drug and they didn’t support it. So that’s all I’ve heard from the longhouse.
Community Member: And I don’t think that’s fair larry. I have sat with you in March for several hours at the Band office to discuss this. I’ve been convicted of probably, I don’t know, twenty indictable offenses for drinking water, taxes, fishing, hunting, various other things. And if I can’t hold a business, and if that’s what people decide, then I guess then that’s it. I’m a participant right now in one of the cannabis dispensaries and I have engaged the council. I have engaged you, Chief. You don’t have to go to Hogansburg and talk to John Boots and others down there about what their opinion is because we’ve given you our opinion.
And when I spoke to you, and when I spoke to you, Larry, I wasn’t speaking on my own personal benefit. I was speaking on the fact that I went around and spoke to different families and people in the community, and represented those ideas to you. Personally, if I’m excluded from it, I’m excluded from it. But yeah, I have stood in defense of the community and that has resulted in a lot of different things and exclusions to me and your executive assistance because I don’t have a clear criminal record. And that’s fine. I accept that.
And the one thing I do want to say and I know that we’re sort of getting at the end. And I’ve had many discussions in the community, and I understand what Kevin is saying. And you might not understand when someone stands up and speaks to those values. And I agree with it, that the full story of who we are is not available to you, because you haven’t lived here and you haven’t lived in this community or dug your water from the well or shit outside or went through all those things or struggled to create an economy based on whatever we could find to make our lives better.
You might not understand that, and it has been a struggle and we’re here at this point. But I want to say to everybody clearly that for probably the last, I don’t know, 118 years or 119 years, we haven’t made a decision in this community that represented every single person in this community because of the Band Council. But I’ll tell you one thing, and I know I’m going to piss people off when I say this, is that we have different stakeholders in this community now that represent different people’s opinions and ideas. We have the council for the Band and like it or not, they represent the opinions and ideas of people that follow that.
And we have our police force who are stakeholders in this. And we have our longhouses that are stakeholders in this. And we have the dispensary owners and we have people that have no affiliation to anything that are stakeholders in this. Every single person is a stakeholder. And the one thing I see about this, because everybody throws around the notion of sovereignty and self-determination, and this ain’t it.
And trying to navigate the minefield so that we insulate ourselves against some sort of judicial review of our policy is a bunch of bullshit. But I can tell you simply that if we come together as a community and all the stakeholders, including Band Council, the police, us, dispensary owners, then I’m willing to support that because I think that that reflects something that we haven’t enjoyed in a long time. And I want to sit down with my brothers and sisters that work in the Band office and be friends again and be back to a whole community.
And I don’t see cannabis as just being an economic road to whatever. I see it as this. I see this process as an opportunity for us to come together collectively as a community and agree upon an issue, agree upon those values and ideas, the things that made us. I hear it in the longhouse all the time when it said our ancestors before us struggled against overwhelming odds so that we would have a chance to exist, and we’re proof that they stood up and fought so that we would have a chance to exist, to be here today.
And it’s up to us, I guess, to overcome those differences, to struggle through this process, to come together on a consensus and be able to say that we have a capability to put aside those things, come together on ideas and values and give our children that same opportunity to exist. That we can’t be the ones that give it all up because of our differences.
And so as much as I hate this process, and hate this when you call it a law and a bylaw and federal jurisdiction and provincial jurisdiction, it makes me sick to listen to it, but at the same time, I think if we can come to what we all agree upon and put that forward. And even if we don’t call it a community bylaw, it’s guidelines for how to treat each other and take care of our kids and the shit we can sell and the shit we can’t sell. If we can agree on that, then it’ll be the first time in over a hundred years that we’ve all agreed on something together.
And so that’s what I see in this process. That’s what I see that this can do. We can reap the economic benefits and we can make a decision collectively together as a united community, as a member of the Mohawk Nation. Something that while we’ve been torn apart for so long, we can come together and we can do that again. And I’m excited about it. And I’m mad about it. And if this has to be ratified through a vote by… not this, but through a vote by the Band Council’s people, then the rest of us can accept it too.
And if it’s an abject miserable goddamn failure, and we all made the decision, then we’re not going to have anybody to blame. We can all blame ourselves. And if it’s leads to success and a better future for our kids and something that we can be proud as a legacy to leave behind, then we can all reap the benefits and we can enjoy it together. And it’s a conflict and we just have to figure out how, as community members and brothers and sisters and friends and neighbours, how we can navigate that process.
Because I can eat shit and agree with R Donald on something. I can do that. If it’s for the future and for our kids, then we all may have to make some sacrifices in order to make our community stronger and better. I believe that. And I think that that’s how we have to kind of approach this. We all might have to give up something, not our sovereignty, not our integrity, but get the monkey off our back.
And we don’t have to do this for the federal government. As Kev said, they won’t come in here. We don’t need them. But they won’t come in here. But that’s not good enough right now. Because it’s been shown that our own people and the people living in our community don’t share those inherent values and beliefs that we believed our whole lives growing up as kids, and we’re seeing things that just violate the very basic things that we’re supposed to believe in. When you’ve got to tell people you can’t put a dispensary by the school and you’ve got to make a law for that, that pisses me off as much as this does. But that’s kind of where we’re at.
Sara Mainville: Are there more questions?
Chief RD Maracle: Sara, when we were on the call this afternoon, I was at the Chief’s Ontario office, I asked a question about this license doesn’t entitle the license holders to buy cannabis at the Cannabis Store or at federally licensed facilities. Is that correct? And the only way, under Canadian law that you can do it, I’m not saying we should do this, but the only way that it’s recognized in Canadian law is if you buy from one of those sources that’s recognized by the Crown. So I guess then how is the wholesaler that the stores going to buy from, how is that regulated?
Sara Mainville: So the licensing system is meant to from seed to sale in the community.
Chief RD Maracle: So it’s whatever is grown here, tested here, and sold here.
Sara Mainville: Right. I mean, you tell me, I will draft a workable solution if you give that workable solution to me beyond the fact that your licensing… if you license the cultivation to the retail stores, if you’re bringing in outside black or grey market product, you’re giving me a legal problem that I have to figure out. Because that means that your system is actually feeding the black or grey market. And so we have to sort out how, from seed to sale, it’s going to work here. If you have, in your community, the expertise to figure that out, tell me how it’s going to work and we will draft law based on that.
Community Member: [Inaudible 2:20:14 to 2:20:50]
Sara Mainville: I would say that a lot of the committee here is grey, maybe grey in that we’re not sure if the product is not just legal but also legitimate sources of cannabis. So I would say that’s grey.
Community Member: What does legitimate mean to you, though?
Sara Mainville: Well so there’s some subjective elements to what I’m saying, but what I’m saying… So the black and the grey is what they see as legal in the eyes of outside the community. So what we’re hoping to do is to help you create a system where we can say that everything is licensed.
But unfortunately, I only have a suspicion because I don’t know, I have a suspicion that some of the supply might be tied to maybe organized crime or maybe to tied to B.C. producers who are clearly in the black market. They will not be licensed, they’re not going to be licensed and they’re selling product to some of the retail stores. Those are issues that legally we would have to deal with to legitimize your licensing system. If they’re outside supply coming from, let’s just say non-licensed forces, and maybe I should stop saying grey and black, just say non-licensed sources, there’s non-licensed supply.
Community Member: Do you mean like non-Canadian licensed.
Sara Mainville: Non-First Nation licensed. Are you getting supply from First Nation licensed supply? That would be really important for me to know.
Community Member: Imported from Jamaica.
Sara Mainville: Imported from Jamaica? That’s amazing.
Community Member: [Inaudible 2:22:46]
Sara Mainville: See, I don’t know these things, but I guess my role or my job could be is to help you create a legitimate licensing system that resolves all those sort of issues about supply that’s coming into the community and sales that are going outside the community. That’s really what I’m sort of tasked to do. And I don’t know where your supply is coming from beyond cultivating it yourself. And if you can be transparent about that, then we can sort out how we can withstand legal challenges beyond guns and ammunition.
Community Member: The suggestion is that [inaudible 2:23:41].
Sara Mainville: Are you talking about treaty? Intertribal trade?
Community Member: [Inaudible 2:23:53]
Sara Mainville: So I know that there’s been discussion about that originally when I was engaged in that, is the Mohawk Nation setting up a system where they’re all trying to support one another. I think that would be really interesting and sort of a bigger project. But that’s where I would want to say and want to defend your system to say that this is a licensed system., beyond being recognized by Canadian law, this is a licensed system.
Community Member: To be clear, when you’re saying seed to sale, it means in Tyendinaga.
Sara Mainville: Or another licensed system. So maybe you’re having arrangements with, one example would be Six Nations or another example would be another community that has a licensing regime.
Community Member: So I can’t purchase from a longhouse because they choose not to license, but they choose to grow, but they choose not to license. So I can’t purchase from them?
Sara Mainville: I’m not going to say that you can’t. I’m just going to say that we need to have a discussion and you explain to me how it works and we will try to afford that, not just legitimacy, but legality by sorting out how your legal system is going to work. I just don’t know these things, but I am a strong supporter of you exercising your jurisdiction. But the elements that I don’t know are sort of absent in this law right now.
Community Member: Exercising our jurisdiction and just saying no. And then that would be exercising our jurisdiction.
Sara Mainville: To say no to licensing?
Community Member: To the licensing. But what I’m trying to gather is like [inaudible 2:25:41] wondering is how would that be organized. Say okay, now you can buy off licensed sellers, but you can also grow and sell, or how does that work where you buy off community members who are also growing, or how would you track it if somebody [inaudible 2:26:01 to 2:26:13]. Because what if somebody had ten pounds of say, [inaudible 2:26:17] who are getting rid of, and they have one extra that’s not [inaudible 2:26:23]. How would that [inaudible 2:26:27]. Would that be against the law?
Sara Mainville: Well basically you need to have a system that recognizes that this is all licensed activity.
Community Member: I’m just curious [inaudible 2:26:45].
Sara Mainville: So the thing that I am definitely admitting to not knowing is how your dispensaries are working, and if there is a way to legitimize how you are getting your cannabis. But also recognizing that so that there’s a quid pro quo becoming a part of the licensing regime is that you have to be transparent about these things. And we have to find a way to make sure that businesses are both transparent and accountable with their license.
But how is it going to work? Sadly, my response is you tell me. So we put together a law and a framework about seed to sale as potentially sort of a system that could be workable in Tyendinaga, but if that practically isn’t how it’s actually going to work, or how it should work, you need to tell me. I am not a great supporter of the Health Canada system. I know all the criticisms and certainly it’s incredibly extensive, it’s an incredibly exclusive club to be part of. So this guideline I think is really important, but practically, the practical matters, you can’t ask your lawyer. You need to, as the community, tell me how it’s going to work.
Community Member: I just wanted to ask one thing. This law that you’re proposing and everything like that, someone said something earlier [inaudible 2:28:45]. Is it your belief that they will honour this, or do you have something in paper saying that they’re going to honour some of the First Nations [inaudible 2:28:59].
Sara Mainville: I don’t have the commitment, but I certainly know that there is a strong legal argument that once cannabis is legalized in the federal system, [Audience member: – It’s a guess] It’s not a guess, its a strategy. I can’t say that’s an equation that A+B = [inaudible 2:29:22].
Community Member: But it’s still a guess. You’re just trying to [inaudible 2:29:30].
Sara Mainville: Well to say it modestly, it’s a well thought out opinion.
Community Member: Have you done this with your nation?
Sara Mainville: Have I done this with my nation? Couchiching is getting a retail store license [inaudible 2:29:51]. So I respect [inaudible 2:29:58] that they want a licensed retail store.
Community Member: [Inaudible 2:30:07]
Sara Mainville: Like a law? They’re not doing their own laws. They’re [inaudible 2:30:20].
Community Member: This is your guess [inaudible 2:30:27]. And you’re willing to test it on us.
Sara Mainville: I’m not willing to test it on you. You have to be willing to take this advice and [inaudible 2:30:40].
Community Member: [Inaudible 2:30:43] The words of the Simcoe Deed say the land is given and granted unto the Chiefs, warriors, women, and people of the said Six Nations and their heirs forever. The land is granted to them and their heirs forever, freely and clearly of and from all matters of rents, fines and services whatsoever to be rendered by them the said Chiefs, Warriors and people of the said Six Nations to use or our successors to the same, and of and from all conditions, stipulations, and agreements whatever except as herinafter by us expressed and declared. [inaudible 2:31:26]. Not by Canada. And this is by Canada.
Chief RD Maracle: There’s just one thing I’d like to share with the people that are left here. Louis Mitchell has a temporary licensed cannabis growing operation in Akwesasne and he expects to make about eight million dollars a year. And he is willing to have a conversation with the federal government, if there’s interest, if they [inaudible 2:32:18] dispensaries if there’s interest in doing that. So maybe that’s something for people to keep in mind. Because right now the public concern is the safety of what’s being sold in the stores. And right now the council doesn’t know [inaudible 2:32:34] buying from.
Larry Hay: So I guess it’s unofficially the end of the meeting. It’s late, about ten o’clock, we’ve been going at it pretty good, so thanks again for coming out. There should be some more information, the next steps to elabourate [inaudible 2:33:03] and any questions, Sara and the council, we’ll do our best to answer them. So thanks for coming out.
[End of recorded material 2:23:48]