Rather than follow Quebec’s government-run cannabis system, the Kahnawake Mohawks are planning to cultivate and distribute marijuana by their own rules and regulations within the reserve.
Kahnawake is a sovereign territory that works independently outside of Quebec and Canada’s jurisdictions.
They’ve drafted a 27-page document, called the Kahnawake Cannabis Control Law, which highlights their own rules and regulations about cultivation, processing, distribution, sales and possession.
Unlike Quebec’s legislation for example, Kahnawake’s Cannabis Control Law sets the legal age for purchase at 21 versus 18 for the rest of Quebec.
The document highlights that non-Indigenous people will be welcome to buy cannabis in Kahnawake when the market opens this fall, but doesn’t aim to run cannabis shops like the reserve’s smoke outlets.
Included in its laws, nobody is allowed to smoke/vape marijuana in a public area, including school zones or any building designated by the owner to be a “no smoking” area.
A Kahnawake Cannabis Control Board will be formed by the council to licence local growers and sellers and to regulate the laws. “No person may conduct any commercial cannabis activity within or from the Territory without holding both an appropriate licence issued under this Law and the regulations and an equivalent licence issued by Health Canada,” reads the document.
Dispensaries will not be located in areas that can be easily accessible to people under the age of 21 (school areas, parks, recreational centres).
One of the key factors highlighted in Kahnawake’s Cannabis Control Law is keeping marijuana away from minors. The reserve’s primary objective is developing their youth and they want to emphasize how cannabis affects growth in adolescents.