NFN Cannabis Law

The Nipissing First Nation Cannabis Law was enacted by a quorum of Council at the regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, July 2nd.

* IMPORTANT NOTE * NFN’s Cannabis Law may be enacted, but it will not be “in force” until there is an agreement with the government that ensures NFN has access to an inspected and safe cannabis supply for any retail stores that we allow on reserve.  Once that agreement is in place, a Band Council Resolution (BCR) may be passed proclaiming the NFN Cannabis Law in force and allowing NFN to issue retail licences.

Background

The final draft of the law that was presented to Council on May 21, 2019 incorporated feedback from the April consultations and comments that were provided directly to our lawyer during the input period. The draft was amended slightly following the May 21st meeting to reflect feedback from Council before being enacted on July 2nd.

Read the Report to the Community: Cannabis Law Enactment, which summarizes the current status of NFN’s cannabis law and includes the meeting notes from the April consultation meetings.

Current Status

On July 3rd (the day after NFN’s Cannabis Law was enacted), Ontario announced that the province is moving forward with the next round of cannabis licences. The province authorized the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), the provincial regulator for cannabis retail storefronts, to hold a second lottery for 42 private cannabis retail store authorizations, while eight licenses were allocated for retailers wishing to operate on a First Nations reserve.

The AGCO began accepting applications for these First Nations licences on July 31, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. on a first come, first served basis.  Applicants interested in applying for one of these First Nations licences must first obtain approval from the First Nations Band Council to operate a store on reserve.  To that end, our Council signed BCRs to support those NFN member vendors who expressed interest in obtaining a provincial cannabis retail licence. This BCR was solely for the purpose of supporting applications through the Ontario licensing system and does not convey the right to open a business outside of the existing framework as an inherent right.

On August 8th, the AGCO released the Results of the Allocation Process for Cannabis Stores on First Nations Reserves.

Next Steps

Council remains very concerned with the approach the federal and provincial governments have taken to cannabis licensing in Canada, and the regrettable position they have taken toward First Nations by effectively limiting our participation in the industry.  We are working diligently to address this issue on a daily basis.  We have held numerous meetings with federal and provincial officials including cabinet ministers of both levels of government to express our strong desire to exercise our own jurisdiction over cannabis. 

However, we currently lack the capacity to inspect, test and enforce safe cannabis at this time, and with public safety trumping all other issues, NFN Council has chosen to pursue an agreement with the governments of Ontario and Canada with respect to cannabis regulation.

Please refer to the News & Notices page for community reports and recent updates about the development and enactment of NFN’s Cannabis Law.