Province sues Long Plain First Nation over pottery store on reserve

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“Canada ignored Indigenous interests when legalizing cannabis and as a result, First Nations were forced to exercise their cannabis jurisdiction to fight for access to this market.”

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The Long Plain First Nation to take the Manitoba Alcohol, Gaming and Cannabis Authority in court over a dispute over the sale of cannabis from an unlicensed dispensary on the Keeshkemaquah urban reserve near Portage the meadow.

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The province filed a lawsuit late last week seeking an interim and permanent injunction to force the closure of the Indigenous Bloom cannabis dispensary, described on the company’s website as a “cooperative of First Nations and indigenous peoples. which consolidates long-term partnerships with First Nations. and indigenous peoples on indigenous lands for the production and distribution of medicinal products made from hemp and cannabis.

The LGCA suspended the company’s cannabis retail deal in May. It was terminated completely a month later.

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The Manitoba Department of Justice said in a statement on Friday that it aims to “apply a set of rules to everyone.”

“The Attorney General is taking this action in the public interest… To protect public health and safety, to protect the integrity of the legal framework established for cannabis sales in Manitoba, and to protect the interests of all cannabis retailers in Manitoba. Manitoba, aboriginal and non-aboriginal. , which participate in the legal system and ensure consistent access to controlled and authorized cannabis products from licensed producers, ”the statement said.

But Long Plain First Nation Chief Dennis Meeches says the provincial interference is not just a brawl over provincial pot regulations, but meddles with Nation sovereignty, calling them actions of the Attorney General of “big smokescreen”.

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“This is a very, very important question for us,” Meeches said.Radio-Canada News. “It’s about defending our sovereignty and our relationship with the Crown. In light of all this, the province is taking a hard-line approach. We have always maintained that we are a sovereign nation within a sovereign state.

In response to the province’s action in May, the Long Plain First Nation passed the Long Plain First Nation Cannabis Act, “an expression of the inherent right of the Long Plain First Nation to self-determination. , which includes the right to exclusively regulate cannabis-related activities. on reserve, ”according to a press release from Long Plain First Nation leaders.

Long Plain says it meets or exceeds current federal and provincial health and safety standards and “is willing and ready to work with Canada on a nation-to-nation basis to ensure that our respective legal systems can coexist and function harmoniously ”.

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“Canada did not take into account indigenous interests when legalizing cannabis and, as a result, First Nations were forced to exercise their jurisdiction over cannabis to fight for access to this market,” said said representatives of Long Plain.

So far, the LGCA remains indifferent, claiming that there are no exceptions to the current regulations.

“These mandatory requirements ensure the integrity of products controlled and approved from producers licensed under the federal cannabis law,” according to the attorney general.

“They apply whether or not a store is located on First Nations land. “

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