Tribe prepares to create cannabis regulations before nationwide legalization in Canada

Pictured%3A+Members+of+the+Kahnawake+Tribe+attend+a+yearly+powwow

Pictured: Members of the Kahnawake Tribe attend a yearly powwow

Logan Lowrey-Rasmussen

The Kahnawake Tribe in Quebec, Canada imposed a suspension on the production, distribution and sale of cannabis on its land while the council works out regulations.

The Mohawk council plans to pass its own cannabis legislation before Canada legalizes it nationwide by July 2018.

Chief Gina Deer said she consulted with residents before imposing the suspension, and most tribal members have trouble accepting the status of cannabis as a legal substance. She cited the tribe’s zero-tolerance policy on illegal substances as a major factor which caused their hesitance on embracing legal cannabis.

“Cannabis has been used medically for some time now, but accepting it as a legal substance is very difficult for our people,” Deer said.

The change in policy represents both an economic opportunity and a potential strain on the community’s social fabric, according to Deer.

A recent survey in the Kahnawake Tribe found residents support community-owned licensed cannabis, as long as sales do not occur on tribal land.