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Mi’kmaq chiefs want more say on cannabis sales

From link to article by David Jala, June 28th 2019

Nova Scotia’s Indigenous leaders want more say on how cannabis is distributed in the province.

In a written statement, the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs expressed its members concerns about the retail of cannabis products as it pertains to First Nations peoples across Nova Scotia.

Membertou Chief Terry Paul, who also serves as the assembly’s co-chair, said that the black market continues to flourish in Mi’kmaq communities without reasonable access to legal cannabis.

“We’ve been clear to communicate that we support the elimination of the cannabis black market by ensuring quality-tested products are readily accessible to our community members,” said Paul.

“With ongoing concerns regarding the health of our community members, we want to ensure proper access to safe products.”

Paul said the assembly considers cannabis retail to be a governance issue and that the federal Constitution Act of 1982 affirms the right of Indigenous People to develop laws that address health, law and order, and control of intoxicants on reserves.

And he’s calling on the provincial government to work with the Mi’kmaq on all aspects of the cannabis issue.

“We hope that we can come back to the table with government partners and work together — ultimately, we must move forward in the best interest of our people regardless of recent decisions,” said Paul.

While there are five Cape Breton Mi’kmaq communities, the only place on the island to buy legal cannabis is the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission’s Sydney River location.

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