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Toronto’s First Indigenous Cannabis Dispensary is Now Open

Medicine Wheel cannabis dispensary is now operating at 1176 Danforth Ave in the East End of Toronto.

by News Editor September 17, 2021

TORONTO – Just East of Toronto’s popular Greektown at the intersection of Danforth and Greenwood Avenues sits Toronto’s first Indigenous-owned and operated cannabis dispensary. The shop is owned by a member of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and operates on unceded territory. The store’s soft-opening on September 15 marks a historical return of sovereign traditional people operating businesses on their own treaty lands, and marks a new stage in the growth of the Indigenous cannabis movement.

Demand has been high for an Indigenous-owned dispensary in Toronto for years, with many people taking the trip out to Alderville or Tyendinaga to get their supply. The landscape is very uncertain in Toronto, as the hundreds of “grey market” stores that blossomed across the city have been mostly shut down. Some stores, like CAFE still operate, despite strong resistance from the City of Toronto. CAFE is infamous for selling cannabis on the sidewalk after the City placed concrete blocks in front of their entrance. 

The position of members of the Mississaugas of the Credit is different. Their people have never surrendered the land known today as the City of Toronto after it was seized in a series of chaotic purchases and land claims. 

A sign at Medicine Wheel offering 2 ounces for $100

The original survey in 1787 was found to be incomplete and was missing even the most basic records. In 1788 another “survey” was conducted by Sir John Johnson. He was instructed to seize all territory from Ashbridges Bay to the Credit River. He encountered such fierce resistance as he headed West that he had to call in the military and only then did the Mississaugas relent and were “prevailed upon to give up the River Tobicoak (Etobicoke River) but go no further.” 

Despite the resistance and the incomplete survey, these activities were characterized by the Crown as a “purchase.” In 1805 the British Crown finalized what it called the “Toronto Purchase.” The Mississauga negotiated for reserves for fishing and hunting rights; they regarded these agreements as a need for survival while the British regarded them as the surrender of what is now the City of Toronto.

Trade has always been a key part of the Mississaugas economy, the Credit River is so named because it’s an important trade route. By opening a dispensary on unceded urban territory, they are rejecting centuries of economic genocide that has forced indigenous people away from profitable lands.

The Medicine Wheel store proclaims its right to exist on a large sign in the front window. “This store is operated by sovereign people on sovereign land. We are exercising our constitutional and inherent right.” At the bottom of the sign is the seal of the Mississaugas of the Credit.

The sign in front window of Medicine Wheel dispensary 1176 Danforth Ave Toronto (image credit: Dispensing Freedom)

While they are still stocking the shelves and preparing for their grand-opening, the store already offers a wide variety of flower, gummies, baked goods and chocolate bars. Look for more product coming in every day. You can get a free pre-roll for signing up as a member which only takes a few moments. You can also take advantage of their amazing two ounces for $100 deal, which is unheard of in Toronto. Stop by 1176 Danforth Ave and check out the store for yourself.

Hours of operation:

12pm – 9pm 7 days a week (after Grand Opening 12pm – 12am)

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