At the regional level the BC Assembly of First Nations, working with the First Nations Summit and Union of BC Indian Chiefs as the First Nations Leadership Council (FNLC), participates in the FNLC-BC Joint Working Group on the Legalization and Regulation of Non-Medical Cannabis in BC. Seven Indigenous Nation community representatives are appointed to serve on this Working Group, alongside appointments from the three PTOs. The FNLC representatives report on progress at regular membership meetings of the PTOs. Chief Harvey McLeod, Upper Nicola Band, is BCAFN’s representative. Wes Sam of Burns Lake Indian Band is Co-Chair of the working group.
The following resolutions were passed to support BCAFN’s engagement on this Joint Working Group:
The FNLC is pursuing specific actions under each of the priority areas that have been identified by First Nations, working group representatives, and are expressed in resolutions of the AFN, including:
- Economic development capacity
- Jurisdiction, and section 119 agreements
- Revenue sharing
- Separate and supported licensing processes for First Nations
- Data and monitoring
- Public education and awareness
- Health considerations and impacts
- Community safety
The FNLC has continuously prioritized advancing First Nations jurisdiction and cannabis revenues for First Nations at the working group, and continues to advocate for BC to expand its mandate to develop these options.
The government of BC is open to entering into Section 119 agreements pursuant to the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act. However, substantive economic benefits and recognition of First Nations’ rights to make laws and regulations in relation to matters addressed by the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act, are not included in the Secretariat’s current mandate for negotiations. It is BCAFN’s view that this is not in alignment with the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, and is a focus of ongoing advocacy.
The working group recently considered policy proposals regarding the provincial regulatory framework, including:
- Featured shelf space in government stores and the BC Cannabis Wholesale website for First Nations products
- Direct delivery
For further information contact Sarah Froese, BCAFN Policy Analyst