Government refuses to recognize Six Nations’ cannabis law

The chair of the Six Nations Cannabis Commission says the government’s refusal to recognize Six Nations’ cannabis law is racist.

Kathy Mair told Six Nations of the Grand River Elected Council at Monday’s political liaison meeting that their team and cannabis businesses on Six Nations have to deal in cash in order to avoid investigations because the industry is still viewed as illegal by off-reserve governments.

They can’t have a bank account, she said, and businesses having one puts them at risk. The commission has been using the Six Nations finance department to write cheques and the commission’s money is stored there.

“It’s really difficult,” she said, to operate on cash. “We can’t put it in a bank.”

The commission gets money from cannabis businesses who obtained a license from them. Five percent of each sale goes to the commission, Mair said, with three percent going towards their operating costs and two percent going back into the community.

Mair said it’s risky for cannabis businesses to be using banks because she said if investigators find out, they could have their bank accounts shut down.

One local cannabis employer has four RESPs for their children and is currently being threatened by banking investigators, she said.

They were told they have 90 days to shut down their bank account and to find another bank.

“They came to us,” Mair said. “What can we do? This is happening right now. It’s more prevalent for First Nations and it’s not right.”

She said the federal government recognizes Ontario’s cannabis regulations but not First Nations.

“I think that’s racist. Why are we different?”

She said their rules and regulations are similar to Ontario’s so she doesn’t understand why authorities don’t recognize Six Nations’ cannabis law.

Dealing in cash causes issues for cannabis employers in terms of their employees, as well.

“When you have to deal in cash all the time they can’t get benefits for their employees.”

The commission refuses to keep cash at their office, Mair informed council.

It’s brought over to the Six Nations council finance office and if money needs to be given out, the finance department writes the cheque.

Coun. Helen Miller said if anybody ever sees investigators on the reserve, “I hope they kick them off.”

It’s not just Six Nations dealing with the banking issue, said Mair. First Nations across the country are in a similar situation, she said.

Mair told council the commission has been making strides in other areas, such as increasing their social media presence and they’re now in talks with Grand River Employment and Training to develop training programs for bud tenders.

The commission is also looking at where and how it will distribute the two percent community contributions at the beginning of next year, Mair said, after a community survey showed four priorities that need money: housing, the food bank, education and language and culture.

Another issue with the cannabis industry is market saturation.

“If there’s too much product and not enough consumers, they’re not going to do as well if there were fewer.”

Mair also told council that according to the commission, the product that is cultivated on Six Nations is superior to product off-reserve.

“We want to be the progressive leader in safety and education regarding the Six Nations cannabis industry while encouraging sound environmental practices and community improvements through contributions.”

By Donna Duric

The chair of the Six Nations Cannabis Commission says the government’s refusal to recognize Six Nations’ cannabis law is racist.

Kathy Mair told Six Nations of the Grand River Elected Council at Monday’s political liaison meeting that their team and cannabis businesses on Six Nations have to deal in cash in order to avoid investigations because the industry is still viewed as illegal by off-reserve governments.

They can’t have a bank account, she said, and businesses having one puts them at risk. The commission has been using the Six Nations finance department to write cheques and the commission’s money is stored there.

“It’s really difficult,” she said, to operate on cash. “We can’t put it in a bank.”

The commission gets money from cannabis businesses who obtained a license from them. Five percent of each sale goes to the commission, Mair said, with three percent going towards their operating costs and two percent going back into the community.

Mair said it’s risky for cannabis businesses to be using banks because she said if investigators find out, they could have their bank accounts shut down.

One local cannabis employer has four RESPs for their children and is currently being threatened by banking investigators, she said.

They were told they have 90 days to shut down their bank account and to find another bank.

“They came to us,” Mair said. “What can we do? This is happening right now. It’s more prevalent for First Nations and it’s not right.”

She said the federal government recognizes Ontario’s cannabis regulations but not First Nations.

“I think that’s racist. Why are we different?”

She said their rules and regulations are similar to Ontario’s so she doesn’t understand why authorities don’t recognize Six Nations’ cannabis law.

Dealing in cash causes issues for cannabis employers in terms of their employees, as well.

“When you have to deal in cash all the time they can’t get benefits for their employees.”

The commission refuses to keep cash at their office, Mair informed council.

It’s brought over to the Six Nations council finance office and if money needs to be given out, the finance department writes the cheque.

Coun. Helen Miller said if anybody ever sees investigators on the reserve, “I hope they kick them off.”

It’s not just Six Nations dealing with the banking issue, said Mair. First Nations across the country are in a similar situation, she said.

Mair told council the commission has been making strides in other areas, such as increasing their social media presence and they’re now in talks with Grand River Employment and Training to develop training programs for bud tenders.

The commission is also looking at where and how it will distribute the two percent community contributions at the beginning of next year, Mair said, after a community survey showed four priorities that need money: housing, the food bank, education and language and culture.

Another issue with the cannabis industry is market saturation.

“If there’s too much product and not enough consumers, they’re not going to do as well if there were fewer.”

Mair also told council that according to the commission, the product that is cultivated on Six Nations is superior to product off-reserve.

“We want to be the progressive leader in safety and education regarding the Six Nations cannabis industry while encouraging sound environmental practices and community improvements through contributions.”

Related Posts

© 2024 Two Row Times - Website Development by Doolittle Productions