Medical Marijuana hot button in Tyendinaga

TYENDINAGA MOHAWK TERRITORY — Marijuana as a medicine is a right that goes back long before the arrival of the white man. That is one thing most proponents and opponents would agree on. But that’s about all.

The right to dispense traditional healing medicine in Tyendinaga and the elected council’s determination to uphold Canadian law which prevents it is coming to a head after Police Chief Ron Maracle and Tyendinaga Police interrupted a community meeting on the subject.

The meeting, which was held at Big Green’s, attracted around 50 to 60 community members, most of which already operating Cannabis dispensaries under the name of the banner of the Kenhteke Cannabis Association, or clients of these dispensaries, were in the midst of drafting an official response to pressure applied by the elected council and police to close their operations under threat of arrest.

Although weapons were not drawn, those present report they were carrying weapons, which angered many.

Simply by the fact of showing up with a gun and making demands, “you take away our choices,” said store owner Rathahine.

The issue once again brings up the generations-long question of who the Mohawks are and what right Canada has to impose its arbitrary authority over a sovereign people.

Maracle is reported to have announced that “risks to public health and safety” is what motivated the police action, at the request of the elected council.

“I don’t care who smokes marijuana,” sources say Maracle announced. “I just can’t have dispensaries selling it openly. We uphold Canadian laws, and Canadian laws apply in this community.”

The statement and the actions of armed Tyendanaga police at the meeting has been met with anger and outrage from the fiercely independent Mohawk community.

Members of the Kenhteke Cannabis Association met at the Longhouse last Wednesday and to gather input from the clans. The request from the association members was that the clans consider several related issues. They were asked three basic questions. Do you agree that cannabis is a medicine? Do you agree that cannabis is our medicine? And, do you agree that we have a responsibility to provide medicine to people who need it?

Although there was no solid direction that came from the meeting, the matter was put out to the clans to decide among themselves and return with their clan official stance on the matter.

Community organizers of the gathering were pleased that the issue is being taken seriously by the clans and that it was a big step towards some form of consensus on the delicate matter.

Members of the Association also vowed to follow the findings and the wishes of the longhouse, no matter which way they decide. But strongly refuse to accept the orders of what they consider an outside government.

The issue is also becoming a talking point at Six Nations and community members on both sides of the issue are watching Tyendinaga and Kahnawake closely.

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