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Majority in Kahnawake okay with local pot sale

MCK chief Rhonda Kirby intends to be part of another CDMP meeting before ratifying a local cannabis law. A poll found a majority in favour agreeing cannabis could be sold on territory. (File photo)

Community members had a chance last week to give their thoughts on cannabis sales in Kahnawake with an opinion poll.

The poll asked two questions, with the first being: Should Kahnawà:ke allow the sale of legal cannabis on the Territory?

A total of 425 people participated in the poll, with 54.61 percent of participants agreeing that cannabis should be allowed for sale in the territory, while 42.55 percent of those polled disagreed that cannabis be allowed for sale.

The second question in the poll was, if the sale of cannabis is permitted on the territory, should the sale be for: medical, recreational or both.

Of the 425 people who went to the poll, 374 answered the second question on the poll; six thought cannabis could be sold for recreational use, 174 felt it should only be sold for medical and 194 thought it should be permitted for both.

The weeklong poll was held at the Golden Age Club as a result of the September 25 CDMP meeting.

The Mohawk Council is meeting next week to decide on the next steps on how and when the cannabis control law will be implemented.

Council chief Rhonda Kirby was pleased with the turnout over the six days of polling.

“The next step is that we have another CDMP (Community Decision-Making Process) hearing where we will be reading the law. Then the next step is to go back to council for it to be ratified by the table,” said Kirby.

The CDMP meeting is scheduled for November 20, when the cannabis control law will be presented to the community. Kirby said the law would then go back to council November 26.

From a business point of view though, business development manager at MCK, Karlie Onerahtokha Marquis said cannabis is something that should be looked at as a revenue generator in Kahnawake.

“It’s hard to ignore what’s going on in Montreal with all the lines we saw in the first couple of days and now the shortage; it proves that there’s a market for cannabis retail,” she said.

Marquis said that even a fraction of what the provincial government is making off of sales would be a huge boost to the community.

“The SQDC (Société québécoise du cannabis) had 142,000 transactions in the first week of legalization. If Kahnawake was able to get into the retail side and participate in the market and let’s be very conservative, assuming that we could get five percent of that, we could be generating tens of millions of dollars per year.”

She said that it’s not at that point yet as chief and council are still in discussions on what to do next, on whether there are going to be additional steps on the business side of cannabis sales.

“I mean it’s public knowledge that we are exploring business opportunities with Canopy (Growth). The next steps given by chief and council to the working group after they discuss the poll results would be putting together a feasibility study or business plan that would let us know exactly what kind of revenue we could be expecting, if we did get into business on the retail side,” she said.

Kirby said that there is still work ahead for council.

“The cannabis control board still needs to be put in place, there’s still regulations that have to be completed, so it will still be a little while before the law is actually in place,” said Kirby, adding it won’t be in place until sometime next year.

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