Saskatchewan to allow First Nations to regulate own cannabis stores

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The government of Saskatchewan has introduced legislation to increase First Nations self-governance in the retail cannabis sector, the province announced.

The move comes as Indigenous leaders say they’ve been largely excluded from Canada’s legal cannabis industry, and have called on the federal and provincial governments across the country to grant self-governance over certain cannabis-related activities.

Some provinces in Canada, such as Quebec, do not have any fully legal cannabis stores on First Nations reserves, even though the country legalized the drug in 2018.

Saskatchewan’s Cannabis Control Amendment Act, 2022 would establish a legal framework for First Nations to license and regulate the distribution and sale of adult-use marijuana on-reserve.

“Our government supports First Nations exercising their authority over on-reserve distribution and retailing of cannabis through a legal framework with SLGA,” Lori Carr, minister responsible for Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority, said in a news release.

“This change further fosters reconciliation by ensuring First Nation-owned businesses are able to fully participate in the economic opportunities presented by the retail cannabis industry.”

The province said the proposed amendments will grant First Nations the opportunity to establish their own local cannabis authorities to govern retail sales.

Once the framework is established by the respective First Nation, approved stores on-reserve would have access to cannabis products from federally regulated cultivators.

The amendment would not allow First Nations in Saskatchewan to regulate their own cultivation, which is regulated by Canada’s federal government.