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Cannabis as a catalyst for Indigenous governance – Policy Options

Legalization could prove to be a key moment for First Nations that have been seeking to tax and regulate not just cannabis, but also tobacco.

August 22, 2018

As Indigenous communities grapple with options for alleviating poverty and spurring job creation, the economic potential of legalized cannabis is a compelling topic. How can our people participate in this regulated industry, from growing the plants through to retail sales? At Chippewas of the Thames First Nation (CTFN), near London, Ontario, we have spent years conducting research and negotiations around the closely related issue of tobacco sales, and how our community might participate in regulation and taxation. The lessons learned through that process could also inform how we can achieve clear regulations of our own for the on-reserve cannabis industry.

The provincial and federal governments could also hit two birds with one stone if they come up with a comprehensive system for regulating both cannabis and tobacco sales in Ontario on-reserve. The upcoming legalization of cannabis, then, could be an important catalyst in the recognition of our inherent right to self-government and a true nation-to-nation relationship.

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