MCK gives go ahead for retail sales of cannabis
December 7, 2023 By Local Journalism Initiative
By Marc Lalonde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Mohawk Council of Kahnawake gave the go-ahead for retail sales of cannabis in the community to begin when it voted to lift the moratorium on sales and possession for retail sales during its Monday meeting– and the chief responsible for the dossier said she expects sales to begin in the New Year.
“It’ll be early in the New Year,” MCK Chief Tonya Perron said. “It won’t be in, like, July of the new year. It’ll be pretty early.”
The lifting of the moratorium allows the Kahnawake Cannabis Control Board (CCB) to begin issuing the three licenses that will be available for sales of cannabis, and possession of cannabis for sale, as soon as they are able to get through what Perron expects will be a mountain of work on awarding those licenses.
“From what I’ve heard there are likely to be a lot of people applying for the licenses. If everyone who has come up to me in the community and asked me about it goes ahead with an application, there will be a lot of work for them to get though,” she said, adding that it represents a major decision and a fairly monumental occasion.
“Yes, it’s a pretty big deal,” she said. “The CCB will begin taking applications very soon, and they’ll open up the application process for a finite amount of time. The community will be advised and it’s going to be very, very shortly that they will open up the application process.”
The moratorium had been in place since 2018, and was enacted just after Canada first legalized the retail sales of the cannabis.
At the same time as it lifted the moratorium, the MCK enacted the law regulating dispensary and dispensary licenses.
“It’s all dependent now on how many applications the CCB receives for licenses,” Perron said. “However fast that process goes is because what happens after this is up to them.”
CCB chair Tara Jacobs wouldn’t put a firm timeline, but did say she hopes to have the ball roiling “as soon as possible. I can’t put a firm timeline on it, but I would agree with Tonya (Perron) that we want to have everything up and running early in the New Year.”
A CCB open house and information kiosk in late summer attracted a number of community members, so Jacobs said she is definitely expecting there to be more than three qualified applicants.
“We got a handful of community members that stopped in. A lot of them had questions, so yes, we are anticipating more than three (applications),” she said. “In that case, we would hold a lottery.”
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