The future of cannabis in Kahnawke will go to a referendum—the decision made at last night’s hearing for the proposed Cannabis Control Law at the Karonhianonhnha School. Approximately 100 people turned out for the meeting, with attendees resorting to standing in doorways and sharing copies of the proposed draft law. The intention of the hearing was to review the draft, However, conversation centered upon concerns about consultation and the type of law cannabis falls under. Community member Jeremiah Johnson expressed his concerns:
“With a type 2 law the community doesn’t have any say or input as to what the law is going to say, whereas with a Type 1 process allows for full community involvement to develop the law.”
After two and a half hours of back and forth discussion between community members and Chiefs of the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake, a decision was made to hold a referendum on the future of cannabis in the community. Something which Johnson views as a success.
“I feel the community accomplished something tonight. They stood together. They made their voice heard and Council is going to listen and hopefully accommodate the community and listen to what we want for our industry and our territory.”
Chief Rhonda Kirby, taking legislative lead on the law, wished that community concerns had been expressed earlier in the 2-year long process.
“It’s disappointing that the number of people that came, I mean it was a good turnout, but at the same time, it would have been beneficial to have all these people here at the meetings that we had in the past two years.”
Kirby said the moratorium on cannabis will remain until a community decision is reached by referendum. That means status quo for Kahnawake when the Canadian law comes into effect on Oct. 17th.