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First Nations and the Business of Cannabis

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This article was originally published in The Lawyer's Daily on Sept.25, 2019 -(see link below)

Justin Trudeau’s 2015 election platform promise to immediately legalize marijuana if elected spurred a frenzy of activity behind the scenes. There were police officers, politicians and other former leaders, previously against the sale of the drug, making plans for their own cannabis boutiques. The very same people that had previously outlawed, arrested and jailed people for growing, possessing and/or selling cannabis would now have the unfair insider advantage about where to sell and to whom.

In the chaotic positioning that played out behind the scenes by those “in the know,” very little attention was given to the full legal implications of Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act.

The failure to properly engage First Nations about the legalization of cannabis was not only irresponsible policy making but was also a lost political opportunity to work on a nation to nation basis with First Nations — o…