With the introduction of new provincial legislation, Saskatchewan First Nations could soon be able to license and regulate cannabis retail stores on-reserve.
On Tuesday, the Saskatchewan government introduced two pieces of legislation that lay the groundwork for increased First Nations self-governance.
Under the amendments, First Nations will be able to establish a local cannabis authority and locally regulated cannabis stores will be able to access federally regulated products.
Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) Minister Lori Carr says the changes comes at the request of Saskatchewan First Nations.
“Our government supports First Nations exercising their authority over on-reserve distribution and retailing of cannabis through a legal framework with SLGA,” Carr said in a media 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 Whitecap Dakota First Nation chief said First Nations assert their jurisdiction and maintain community safety by creating laws under the Indian Act, land codes and other federal legislation but there have been difficulties in enforcing these laws in the courts.
“Through our work with the provincial government, the amendments to SOPA will give us access to prosecution and enforcement tools that will give force to our laws in areas such as environmental protection and community safety; and strengthen the place of our laws alongside federal and provincial law,” said Chief Darcy Bear.
According to the release, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed by the province, Muskoday First Nation and Whitecap Dakota First Nation on Oct. 18, 2019, to address longstanding issues around the enforcement of First Nations’ laws.
The province expects the legislation to pass in the spring.
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