Saskatchewan First Nation files claim in court over cannabis dispensary

A First Nation operating a cannabis dispensary without a provincial permit has laid the groundwork for taking the federal and Saskatchewan governments to court.

The Muscowpetung First Nation filed a statement of claim in Regina Court of Queen’s Bench on Nov. 16, the same week the band opened a pot shop on its reserve northeast of the city.

The store Mino-Maskihki, which means “good medicine,” advertises on its Facebook page the sale of recreational and medicinal cannabis products.

Recreational cannabis became legal in Canada last October and Saskatchewan used a lottery to award 51 licences to sellers.

The Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority, which regulates cannabis sales, warned the band it is subject to provincial and federal laws when it comes to recreational marijuana.

But Chief Anthony Cappo has said the First Nation has a sovereign right to pass its own cannabis regulations.

“It’s still operating under their jurisdiction. They gave themselves a permit,” Cherish Francis, who speaks for Muscowpetung, told The Canadian Press on Thursday.

“In our opinion … they do have a licence because it’s their land and their territory.”

The First Nation is seeking a declaration that it has an inherent right to self-government and that it has the power to sell and regulate cannabis under the constitutional rights of Indigenous people in Canada.

Read the full article at CTV News