Recreational pot stores on Mohawk land raided by cops

The Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service has confirmed the raids on two recreational cannabis dispensaries on Cornwall Island were conducted because both businesses did not have a licence from the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne.

Police simultaneously descended on Wild Flower Cannabis Dispensary and AK420 with search warrants in the early afternoon on Tuesday. They seized quantities of cannabis buds, accessories, and even seized quantities of a cannabis resin known commonly as shatter.

Charges against the proprietors of the stores are still pending, but the Mohawk police say they plan to lay charges under the federal Cannabis Act at the Cornwall court later this week. The names of those arrested have not been released. The Mohawk police say the investigation is ongoing and that more individuals may face charges.

It is notable the lack of an MCA-issued licence — rather than a provincial one — is being cited as the reason for the raids, and criminal charges are also being brought under the federal legislation, instead of Ontario’s Cannabis Control Act.

Wild Flower has claimed on its Facebook that it is licensed, but a search of AK420’s page did not turn up any direct claim that it has its own licence.

Police Chief Shaun Dulude stressed anyone who wants to open a dispensary in Akwesasne must go through the proper channels.

“Although cannabis was legalized for possession on Oct. 17, 2018, applicable legislation defines processes for the authorization of dispensaries,” he said in a statement.

The applicable legislation, in this case, would be Akwesasne’s interim cannabis control regulations, which were put in place in October while the permanent set of rules is being finalized.

Under these regulations, businesses can apply for an interim licence to sell cannabis, a process that involves a $2,000 application fee and filing a detailed business plan.

The approval process appears to be a lengthy one. The one cannabis store that wasn’t raided on Tuesday, Green Chief Naturals, has been open since at least September and has held off from selling cannabis while it continues to wait for its licence to come through.

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