The debate on legalizing marijuana in Canada is missing a key player. Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day says “the level of discussion that has occurred so far (to legalize) marijuana with First Nations in Ontario has been slim to none.” Day says First Nations need to know how growing pot will affect them in several areas like health and justice. Day also says economics plays a role in the debate with Aboriginal communities. He says there will be First Nations who, like other communities, will want to grow marijuana and use it as a revenue generator. Day says First Nations “must have the opportunity to participate in this new economic stream.” The regional chief says the drug would be grown at secure facilities equipped with rigid health regulations. Day says if the federal government doesn’t consult with First Nations on its proposed legislation, he believes the attempt to legally grow marijuana will struggle and potentially fail.
In anticipation that the Trudeau government intended to introduce marijuana legislation, last December the Assembly of First Nations addressed the issue. The Assembly unanimously supported a resolution where it will push the federal government for incentives and priorities to ensure First Nations benefit from this emerging sector. The tentative schedule calls for the legal growing of marijuana to become law on July 1st, 2018.