Marijuana dispensary says it does between $5,000 and $10,000 in sales every day. First Nations Chief sees it just as a crime.
“Kind of gives Indigenous people the right to barter, trade in any medicine that they see fit,” he says.
McGregor says he got into marijuana when he was recovering from an opiate addiction, started growing it himself and then decided to open a dispensary. Above all, McGregor says he put in a new business request to the First Nation but got no response. For that reason, he decided to open up without permission. He alleges that Chief Rocque’s opposition comes from the fact that a member of his family is aiming to open a second dispensary.
Rocque says it’s true his uncle is also looking to get into the marijuana business but says he thinks that shop should be shut down too.
Chief wanted it to be a community choice
The chief says he asked McGregor to hold off on opening a dispensary until the community could decide if it welcomes this type of business. What regulations should be in place, such as where the store can be located and how the marijuana is sourced. Rocque says he is in the process of organizing a community meeting for the coming weeks.
Chief Rocque believes First Nations have the power to set their own laws regarding marijuana. However, it’s very grey right now about what the rules will be for selling pot on First Nations reserve once it is a legal product in Canada.
The Anishnabek Nation, which covers 40 First Nations across the province, declined to comment on this issue until after a meeting on marijuana policy is held in March.
McGregor says he does believe there should be some kind of regulation of marijuana sales on the First Nations reserve. Rather he has no plans to close up shop, even if he does get busted by the police.
“It’s always in the back of my mind and it’s always a worry. But I would just re-open again. I’m here to stay and I’m here to put up a fight,” McGregor says.