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MCA strives for collaborative cannabis regulations

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By Shawna O'Neill
MCA strives for collaborative cannabis regulations
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AKWESASNE – The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne (MCA) is looking to prioritize the safety and well-being of the community while continuing to develop upon cannabis industry regulations.

“While we remain confident a regulatory system that our community and all stakeholders can embrace will be established, we continue to face unique challenges throughout its development,” read an MCA press release.

The statement was released days following a protest in front of Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service headquarters, in which two officers sustained minor injuries and police property was damaged. The Feb. 22 protest occurred following the second police raid in the past month of Wild Flower Cannabis Dispensary on Cornwall Island.

“While we continue to respect every individual’s right to peacefully demonstrate, we cannot condone aggressive behaviour, or acts of vandalism,” read the MCA release.

Under the existing Canadian law, each province is responsible for licensing cannabis retail stores and sales, while the federal government is responsible for licensing cannabis growers. There are no provincially licensed sellers in Akwesasne.

“The development of our regulatory framework will take place under Akwesasne authority, and any licensed sellers in Akwesasne will be licensed by Akwesasne, and not by a province of Canada,” read the MCA release. “The priority requirements of our community regulatory system will be to obtain a safe, credible, and reputable supply of cannabis for our retail stores.”

The statement encouraged that the MCA is working towards a solution that does not compromise community integrity or involve entering into any provincial system.

“The conversations we’ve had in the last week, lots of areas share the same interests…we want to continue to maintain peaceful dialogue and (ensure) everything in the community maintains peace and integrity while we work through challenges in which we face,” said Grand Chief Abram Benedict.

Chief Benedict said that the MCA is looking to move forward in a collaborative process to develop an acceptable regulatory framework and build upon commonalities with various community representatives.

“We ask that all Akwesasronon embrace ska’nikónri:io and use good minds as we work through these challenging and changing times,” read the MCA release.

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