Community Update – October 20, 2020
We would like to provide the Six Nations community an update to the ongoing work of the Six Nations Cannabis Commission.
Revisions to the Six Nations Cannabis Control Law
The Commission has completed a total review of the Six Nations Cannabis Control Law and identified key policy recommendations that will guide the revisions to the Six Nations Cannabis Control Law. In particular, we have identified the areas that need to be harmonized with federal and provincial law — while also making sure the Six Nations Cannabis Control Law is an expression of community autonomy and self-government.
For example, the Six Nations Cannabis Law must uphold the same criminal prohibitions and health and safety standards, as federal and Ontario cannabis legislation.
At the same time, we heard community members say that the Cannabis Law has to make sense for the people of Six Nations. For example, if anyone is charged a fine for violating the Cannabis Law, those fines should come back to Six Nations and not be submitted to the federal or provincial governments. We are creating policies to make that possible.
We also heard community members say they want to have restorative justice options for those who have been previously charged under the Cannabis Act.
This would prevent our people from being pushed into Canada’s justice system for minor violations and instead require Six Nations membership to be accountable to the Six Nations community.
It would also make room for people to leave the illicit cannabis industry and join the legal industry. We are working with community stakeholders such as the Six Nations Police and the Six Nations Justice Department to create those opportunities.
We are pleased to report that we are on track to have the Applications for Cannabis Production ready for distribution on November 30, 2020.
Six Nations members have said that any development in the community must protect our natural environment. That is why the Commission has examined the whole picture of Six Nations lands, our waterways, ceremonial spaces, schools, community spaces and habitats to determine where cannabis business can be safely built with the least amount of negative impact on our environment.
We are creating regulations that will require cannabis businesses to operate responsibly, minimizing things like light and sound pollution. We have also examined the risks posed by the increase of traffic that comes from industrial activity, issues surrounding odour from cannabis production and cross-pollination from cannabis production facilities so that Six Nations own cannabis industry doesn’t negatively impact residents’ homes or the livelihoods of our farmers.
Six Nations members have said they want all development on our territory to protect community spaces of value like burial grounds, medicine fields, or private family cemeteries.
For this reason, we have created an interactive map tool that will support the Commission in determining where cannabis businesses can safely operate, avoid contaminating our waters and protect the spaces that Six Nations people consider sacred. A screenshot of this tool is included in this update.
We are seeking community wisdom from Six Nations families and Haudenosaunee knowledge keepers on where those sacred spaces are that need protecting.
If you know of a location in need of protection and would like us to consider flagging it on our interactive mapping tool — we would like to hear from you. We are looking for information within the community such as (but not limited to) the location of:
- Burial grounds
- Areas used for growing crops and traditional medicines
- Important places for fishing and gathering diverse species
- ‘Seasonal rounds’ for when and where different species are harvested
- Important cultural and archaeological sites
- Travel and trade routes
- Spiritual areas
- Wildlife Trees
- Hunting/Trapping/Harvesting Areas
- Wildlife Corridors/Migration Routes
- Meeting Places
- Ceremonial Sites
- Schools and Healthcare Facilities
- Flood Risk Areas
- Culturally Valued and Historical Areas
You can email email@example.com for more information.
The Six Nations Cannabis Commission has appointed new members and is still actively recruiting for more members to join the team. Anyone interested can send a cover letter and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
We have also tabled a proposed Constitution to govern the internal operation of the Cannabis Commission for Six Nations of the Grand River Elected Council (“SNGR”) to review and approve. This is a governance document that, among other matters, sets out what is expected of a Commissioner and would replace the current Terms of Reference in the Six Nations Cannabis Control Law — which we all agree is insufficient to support the Commission in our work.
Community Advisory Committee
The Commission is looking for community members and cannabis businesses to participate on an advisory committee. Anyone interested in participating please email email@example.com for more information.
A Safe and Regulated Industry
We have heard a common theme from Six Nations members loud and clear: the Six Nations cannabis industry must be 100% for the benefit of Six Nations band members.
In the illicit cannabis industry, cannabis is often grown by organized crime and then sold to illicit dispensaries who may be unaware that they are connected to organized crime activity. At the end of the day, some of the proceeds from purchasing illicit product gets back into the hands of organized crime.
Six Nations members told us that they want an industry that 100% benefits Six Nations band members and our community. That is why we are making a policy recommendation to SNGR that all cannabis activity on Six Nations must be 100% owned by Six Nations band members. This, and all other big-picture policy matters will ultimately be a decision of SNGR. We are also working to provide economic opportunities for our members to secure funding for proposed cannabis businesses through Aboriginal Financial Institutions such as Two Rivers. Further details on those opportunities will be released soon.
We would like to remind members that while cannabis has been legalized in Canada, there is still a very active illegal cannabis industry which, according to Statistics Canada1, still accounts for more than 50% of all non-medical cannabis sales in Canada.
The Six Nations of the Grand River Elected Council has mandated the Six Nations Cannabis Commission as the sole regulatory body for all cannabis activity on Six Nations. We were put in place, along with the Six Nations Cannabis Control Law to make sure that the illegal cannabis industry does not set up a home on Six Nations.
A regulated cannabis industry will protect members from organized crime and the socio-economic problems that come along with it — like an increase in addictions, drug trafficking, violent crimes, weapons and human trafficking. We know that these things are already trying to take hold of our community. Regulating the cannabis industry is Six Nations way of fighting back against that presence in our community.
Illicit/illegal cannabis negatively impacts the whole community by undermining public health and safety, supporting organized crime and giving our young people easier access to cannabis.
On Behalf of:
Six Nations Cannabis Commission