Feds must allow First Nations to tax, regulate cannabis


There was little surprise when the Assembly of First Nations, at its Special Chiefs Assembly in early May, called on the government of Canada to amend Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act. The chiefs sought to prevent provincial regulations from applying on reserves and to allow First Nations to share in the revenue that will be generated by legalizing the production and distribution of cannabis. The move followed recommendations from the Senate Standing Committee on Aboriginal Peoples to delay the implementation of the legislation until Indigenous peoples have been properly consulted. What was much more surprising was the decision of the Trudeau government to exclude Indigenous governments from the cannabis regime in the first place. As recent Senate hearings have shown, First Nations, Inuit and Métis leaders have presented compelling testimony that they were left out of the engagement and deliberation on the legislation, both on the important and related public health issues and on how the laws governing cannabis will be administered in the future. This assertion seems to have been validated by the Minister of Health when, in response to a question from Senator Scott Tannas, she was unable to state even one change the government had made to its draft legislation as a result of engagement with Indigenous peoples. Feds must allow First Nations to tax, regulate cannabis

thumbnail courtesy of irpp.org


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