Analysis: Is Cannabis an Aboriginal Right?

With Indigenous people deeply suspicious of a Canadian medical system which has long mistreated and neglected them, many are turning to cannabis as a “natural” medicine to help with a wide range of health issues including addiction to opioid painkillers and treatment of PTSD. While there is an undeniable economic and political advantage to Indigenous people playing a role in the cannabis industry and staking out their own use of the plant before the anticipated date of Canadian legalization on July 1st, 2018, a more immediate issue concerns the implications of Edward’s ruling for the industry. Specifically, does Edward’s ruling recognizing Haudenosaunee medical practices as an “Aboriginal right” provide a legal bulwark that will protect Indigenous cannabis dispensaries from the raids currently targeting non-native dispensaries in major cities in Canada?