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Grand Council in Akwesasne taking different path to resolve cannabis issues

From APTN link to article by Danielle Rochette, March 7, 2019 

The council of Akwesasne has decided to take another path towards settling its issues with cannabis stores in the community

This was the decision after two police raids split the community.

The stores were raided because they didn’t have a license from the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, but instead, they were licensed by a group called the Indian Way Longhouse.

Now, despite the different perspectives on the issue, ongoing efforts are being made to encourage a peaceful solution.

“We have since been in conversation with various representatives of the community into discuss what a more fullsome collective process would look like for the ongoing development of a framework regulatory for our community to be able to regulate and license the cannabis industry within Akwesasne,” said Abraham Benedict, grand chief of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne.

Roger Jock Kanerahtiio has been sitting on the men’s council for 13 years in the Indian Way Longhouse.

As one of the representatives of the Longhouse, he denounced the interference of the Akwesasne Mohawk police and other non-Mohawk police on the Cannabis dispensaries.

“Two times they were robbed,” he said. “Two times they were set back but they open the next day.

“We do not live in a dictatorship we are Onkwehonweh and Onkwehonweh they are free.”

Kanerahtiio says that things can be turned around in a positive way.

“Communication is the most important thing and I think by working to come to peaceful understanding because basically I see that we can do that without having to say he won or we won or they won you know the people has got to win,” he said.

Kanerahtiio is also hoping that the police will cooperate to the ongoing discussions.

“I hope we do not see the aggression of the police again I really hope that they see that we are working it out and they need to stay out of the business as we know tensions get high really quick.”

There is one thing that everybody agrees on – that some aspects of the cannabis business are good.

“We want to create jobs in our community, we want to have small businesses,” said Abraham. “We want to have an economy that supporting our community as well as having a collective benefit for everybody it is just a matter of getting through the framework what the framework will look like.”

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