One of the biggest issues facing the Indigenous cannabis industry is the question of regulation. Even though cannabis is one of the safest plants – far less harmful to human health than mass produced corn, sugar cane, or wheat, for example – schools, churches, and the media have highly stigmatized the plant in the near …
On March 4th, 2021, Chief Del Riley, the former President of the National Indian Brotherhood, and a co-author and negotiator of Sections 25 and 35 of the Canadian Constitution, visited Alderville First Nation. Chief Riley was there to tour Medicine Wheel Natural Healing – the first dispensary to open in Alderville – and to see first hand the state of the art cannabis testing and extraction facilities of Red Feather Laboratories.
Published by Dispensing Freedom, Feb 25, 2019 OTTAWA – Over 300 delegates attended the second National Indigenous Cannabis and Hemp Conference (NICHC) held on the unceded territory of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan on February 19-20, 2019. The conference was notable for involving high-powered Canadian cabinet ministers responsible for Canada’s legalization of cannabis efforts such as Bill …
From the start, Medicine Wheel focussed on high-quality medicinal products provided by a knowledgeable and highly informed staff. Expecting his clientele to be predominantly younger enthusiasts of the “cannabis culture” type, manager Brent Morrison remembers being shocked on opening day. “The people who were coming into the store defied the cannabis stereotype,” Morrison remembers. “Our average clients are in their mid 50s and looking for a safe and reliable source of cannabis to treat their illnesses.”
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?
Mukwa means bear in the Ojibway language. In Anishinaabe culture, the bear represents courage, strength, and leadership and the bear clan is traditionally tasked with providing medicines for the people. Mukwa Botanicals was created by Rob Stevenson, an Anishinaabe man of the Bear Clan, who owns Medicine Wheel Natural Healing in Alderville First Nation. Rob identified the need for an Indigenous brand of cannabis products that would uphold the Seven Grandfather Teachings that underpin the core philosophy of Medicine Wheel Natural Healing.
The revolution in natural Indigenous healing associated with the cannabis plant has taken another significant step forward. Readers may be familiar with the booming medical cannabis industry in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, where there has been an explosive growth of Indigenous run cannabis dispensaries. That movement has inspired Rob Stevenson, an Anishinaabe man of the Bear Clan belonging to the Alderville First Nation, to launch his own business – the first Indigenous medical cannabis dispensary outside of Tyendinaga – on June 21, 2017.
As Kevin Daniels, national vice president for the National Indigenous Medical Cannabis Association, put it, “There are cannabis dispensaries opening up across the country, but we’re still being left out. The time has come as Indigenous growers, owners, workers and patients to take sovereign control of cannabis in our communities. How we regulate it and how we distribute it, all has to come from our people to Canadian society and government.”