Power Point: First Nation Federal Cannabis Framework Update at CANDO Conference

(October 30, Gatineau, QC) Isadore Day presented an update at the 26th Annual CANDO Conference on the progress being made in regard to the First Nation Federal Cannabis Framework.  There were over 300 Indigenous Economic Development Officers in attendance at the Lac Leamy Hilton.

“Right now, 80 per cent of cannabis purchased by Canadians is from the black market. Mainstream cannabis producers and dispensaries are losing money,” said Day. “The challenge that First Nations face is to legally fill that gap. We must be able to cultivate, process, and retail cannabis that is entirely legal and legitimate in the eyes of the federal and provincial governments.”

The full power point presentation is posted below:

FINAL 19-10-30 CANDO Cannabis Panel

 

Growth and Prosperity Fall-Winter 2019/2020 Launched

Isadore Day on 10-17: One Year After Legalization First Nations are Still Trying to Figure out the Pros and Cons of Health, Safety and Economic Benefits of Cannabis     

(Serpent River, October 17, 2019) Today, October 17th, 2019 marks the one-year anniversary of the legalization of cannabis in Canada. This is an appropriate day to launch the third edition of Growth and Prosperity: Indigenous Hemp and Cannabis Magazine. The feature story is on the work being done with the federal government to include First Nations in the mainstream cannabis industry from seed to sale.

What we have learned so far is Indigenous Peoples were not included by the federal government– and were not adequately informed — about the pros and cons of this new industry. What we have learned so far is that the federal government is now willing to work with our Peoples on all fronts – from health and safety education and supports to ensuring inclusion in the mainstream industry though a harmonized framework approach.

One year after legalization, at least 80 per cent of the cannabis consumed in Canada is from the black market. There is still much misinformation about cannabis as a disruptive gateway drug to serious addiction. There is misinformation that a First Nation community that gets involved in growing or selling cannabis will be a target for organized crime and will endanger the lives of their children.

The reality is that alcohol and tobacco have proven to be far more dangerous when overconsumed. Organized crime is far more involved in the illicit alcohol and tobacco trade in our communities.  The answer to this cannabis misinformation is education.

Our leadership, and our citizens, must take the time to consider whether First Nation participation in the cannabis industry is something that they want to pursue as a means of long-term economic opportunity. At the same time, those communities with high rates of drug and alcohol abuse may want to examine medicinal cannabis as a safer means of recovery from addiction.

I am inspired by Dr. Shelley Turner’s medical clinic – Ekosi Health. “Ekosi” is Cree word that means “this is good, this is the way forward.” She has become an expert on the many benefits of medicinal cannabis. Her practice focuses on education, data, and science – knowledge and safe access to cannabis.

What we do know about cannabis is that it’s a natural plant that as been consumed for thousands of years. It’s only been within the past several decades that science has separated different strains that have different effects upon the human body. Cannabis with THC is a mind-altering substance. Cannabis with CBD is the medicinal, healing, and calming substance.

The simple plan for those communities who want to explore both the economic and well-being potential of cannabis is to first concentrate on medicinal cannabis. For example, Seven Leaf in Akwesasne, is a Health Canada licenced producer of medicinal cannabis. They now employ over 50 local Mohawk residents.

Not only is Seven Leaf contributing to the economic well-being of those 50 families, they are producing a safe product that has the power to heal. If your grandmother is in severe pain with arthritis, or if your dog has anxiety when there’s a thunderstorm, why not use medicinal cannabis?

Cannabis has the power to heal our Peoples and it has the power to create wealth for our Peoples.

Ekosi: This is good, this is the way forward.

Growth & Prosperity Issue3 Fall-Winter 2019-20

Attawapiskat: No more promises, no more band-aids, results are needed now

Originally posted at:

Last week, I had the honour and privilege to be the Proxy for Chief Ignace Gull of Attawapiskat First Nation at the Assembly of First Nations’ Annual General Assembly in Fredericton. On his behalf, I introduced an emergency resolution on Safe Drinking Water as a Human Right that was passed unanimously by the Chiefs in Assembly.

Almost since the time the leaders who proceeded Chief Gull signed the 1905 Treaty with Canada, Attawapiskat has lurched from crisis to crisis as a result of being under the discriminatory, and quite frankly genocidal, Indian Act which is overseen by uncaring bureaucrats in Ottawa. These crises have included ongoing unsafe water, youth suicides, drug overdoses, and overcrowded, mouldy housing.

Less than 5 years ago, a non-Indigenous third-party manager, appointed by Ottawa, was found guilty of embezzling 2 million dollars in housing funds from Attawapiskat. Today, a population of 2,000 people, most under the age of 25, continue to suffer from poverty and despair – mostly a manifestation of incompetent and dysfunctional management at the regional and national bureaucratic levels.

Every two or three years, following a protest or hunger strike, Attawapiskat makes the news and gets a few sound bites of concern from the Prime Minister that things will get better as soon as possible. But once the issue dies down, and Canadians are under the false belief that this generation of Attawapiskat children will truly enjoy their childhood, the bureaucrats in Ottawa drop the file. Because, after all, First Nation issues are viewed as faceless files, not life and death human rights issues.

Last week, I was also able to address the latest Minister of Indigenous Affairs, Seamus O’Regan, who briefly visited Attawapiskat a week ago to tell everyone that “Canada cares” and “we will do better”. I reminded Minister O’Regan that after his visit, dozens of women and children marched in Attawapiskat, with signs declaring, “Our Kids Matter, Water is Life” and, “Our People are Dying Slowly.”

You may have said that “Canada cares” but clean water is a human rights issue. Yes, Canada cares when there are water issues in Gander, Newfoundland or in Fredericton, New Brunswick. If there are municipal water issues, they are fixed without delay. If there are First Nation water issues, they linger for years, for decades. Far too many of our children and adults are living with the poor health, cancer, and scars of drinking and bathing in polluted water. 

Canada cares so much about our Peoples that you are sending extra bottled water.

Let me remind you that one of your Liberal Minister predecessors – Andy Scott – from right here in Fredericton – refused to drink the water the last time he visited a First Nation community with unsafe water. That was about 20 years ago.

Twenty years from now, we do not want to see the same problems, the same suffering by our children.

Ending boil water advisories is just one small step. You need to show that Canada cares by investing in the proper infrastructure – from clean water to healthy homes.      

No more words. No more band-aids. We need results now. This will be true reconciliation in action.

First Nation Jurisdiction on Cannabis will Improve the Wealth and Health of our Nations

First Nations must act now – together -- to capitalize on this new green economy that will continue to grow, and has the potential to generate prosperity for decades and generations to come.

Isadore Day

Just over six months ago, Canada legalized cannabis and opened the door to enormous opportunities for those First Nation communities and entrepreneurs who want to get in on the ground floor of a new green economy. The fact that federal government had done little or no consultation with First Nations has become a blessing in disguise. The door is wide open for First Nation control of cannabis.

We have already seen that both Canada and the provinces have had difficulty with the major Licenced Producers, who have not been able to meet the demand. Some of these producers have tried to cut corners by growing in facilities that have not been licenced. Others have produced inferior cannabis products.

Can our communities control the licensing, cultivation, and sale of cannabis and hemp? Yes. Will our community members benefit from long-term employment in the cannabis industry? Yes. First Nations can do a better job of protecting their community members, while generating wealth and improving health through a natural, green industry.

We have already seen First Nation dispensaries open across the country. Every single one appears to be doing a booming business by selling safe, quality products, mostly to mainstream consumers. More importantly, First Nation cannabis retailers have established a reliable national supply chain of products that is far superior to that of the Licenced Producers.

The challenge that First Nations now face is to ensure that we will be able to cultivate, process, and retail cannabis that is entirely legal and legitimate in the eyes of the federal and provincial governments. From a policy perspective, Bimaadzwin has been involved since Day One to help make this a reality. By keeping the door open to government approval, we can establish our own stream of wealth that will transform our economies.

At the end of the day, First Nation involvement in the cannabis industry is all about our communities. Unlike the tobacco industry where only a few become rich, we now have the opportunity to spread the wealth, which will improve the health and well-being of our communities.

In the coming months, those First Nations who want to become involved in the industry must work together based upon sovereignty and jurisdiction. We must engage with the federal and provincial governments to ensure harmonization with mainstream Canada. In fact, we must be able to prove that First Nation cannabis products are equal or superior to those approved by Health Canada.

First Nations must act now – together — to capitalize on this new green economy that will continue to grow, and has the potential to generate prosperity for decades and generations to come.

For more information, contact Bryan Hendry, Director of Marketing and Communications, 613-863-1764 or bhendry@bimaadzwin.ca

Advancing Indigenous Nationhood Includes Control of Data and Technology

Alfred Loon, Leah Ballantyne, Montreal MP Marc Miller, who is the Parliamentary Secretary for Indigenous Crown Relations, Allison Deer, and Bryan Hendry, attended the Indigenous Technology Summit last week in Montreal.

First Nations and Indigenous peoples must take control of technology and data in order to advance their Nationhood, culture, and economic independence.  This is one of the key themes of the Indigenous Technology Summit in Montreal hosted last week by the Mohwak Council of Kahnawake and Forrest Green.

Major sponsors and participants at the Summit included Indigenous Services Canada, Microsoft, Blakcberry, Mustihuhw Information Solutions, Okanagan Indian Band, Osyoos Indian Band, and the Atlantic Policy Congress. Bimaadzwin team members Allison Deer and Bryan Hendry attended along with about 70 delegates. Organizing Chairs were Grand Chief Joseph Tokwiro Norton and Murray Rowe Jr.

The goal of the summit was to gather input from First Nations and Indigenous peoples towards creating a high-tech association to promote developers, entrepreneurs and solutions.  The federal government is committed to assisting and providing IT education, job creation, capacity development, and generating own-source revenue in communities.

For example, Mustimuhw Information Solutions, owned by the Cowichan Tribes in BC, works with over 270 First Nations across the country.  Mustimuhw works with First Nation Health Centers and Child and Family Service Agencies who need to control their in information management systems. By having ownership, access, and control of personal health information, First Nations are able to provide better and safer services to their communities, children and clients.

For more information about the Summit, visit www.indigenousdata.ca For more information about the IT services available in Kahnawake, visit http://www.mohawkinternettechnologies.com/datacentre.htm
 

 

Ontario First Nation chiefs vote to assert jurisdiction over cannabis operations

Photo from The Canadian Press

by James Hopkin

Originally published on June 13 at SooToday.com

SAULT STE. MARIE – The Chiefs of Ontario have passed a resolution enabling First Nations to assert complete jurisdiction to govern all cannabis operations within their own territories.

The resolution was passed during the 45th Annual All Ontario Chiefs Conference in Sault Ste. Marie Thursday.

Thessalon First Nation Chief Edward Boulrice moved the resolution, with Garden River First Nation Chief Paul Syrette acting as the seconder.

The resolution argues that no consultation took place with the federal government prior to the legalization of cannabis this past October.

“There was little or no community consultation by the federal government and there are still no provisions in the legislation which address First Nation social and cultural needs, and rights to economic development, health and public safety,” the resolution reads.

While the resolution acknowledges that First Nations may consider following federal and provincial regulations while exploring opportunities within the cannabis industry, it also allows First Nations jurisdiction to establish their own laws and regulations.

“First Nations must have their autonomy and authority recognized as rights holders at the table as governments when asserting their interests in the cannabis sector,” the resolution states.

The resolution asserts First Nations jurisdiction over its own operations, which includes ‘regulation of the growth, processing and sale of cannabis and in all its derivatives.’

The document also urges federal and provincial governments to eliminate barriers and to ‘cease interference that would impede nation-to-nation trade and commerce.’

The Chiefs of Ontario represent 133 First Nations throughout the province.

– SooToday.com

Bimaadzwin CEO Isadore Day is hosting a cannabis reception. Here’s why

Isadore Day is pictured in this 2015 file photo. Donna Hopper/SooToday

by James Hopkin

Originally published on June 10 at SooToday.com

Former Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day wants to talk to proponents of the First Nations cannabis industry about the opportunities that exist within going green.

The founder and CEO of Bimaadzwin – a company that provides services related to project management, facilitation and policy analysis, among other things – is using his company to host First Nation Cannabis Reception: Growth, Prosperity and Cultivating a Green Economy, an event slated for Monday evening at Sault Ste. Marie Delta Waterfront.

“It’s a file that obviously has great interest to the federal government, the provincial government and First Nations, and because First Nations have not been effectively engaged and consulted on this,” Day said.

The three-hour reception will be attended by First Nations cannabis retailers that are interested in discussing the idea of forming an association that would help create a framework for certification, testing and compliance going forward.

“Today’s meeting is going to be twofold – it’s going to be to actually discuss some of those internal issues, and how we put those targeted issues and requests,” Day said.

The timing of the Bimaadzwin cannabis reception isn’t pure happenstance, either.

The Chiefs of Ontario will be hosting its 45th annual All Chiefs Conference over the next three days, beginning Tuesday morning in Sault Ste. Marie.

“I don’t suspect it [cannabis reception] will be an overly huge meeting, but I do think it will be a meeting with the right people, and we are going to be sitting down and talking about what some of the communities are doing in the region here, and hopefully, making sure that they’re able to do what they need to do based on support that we can help them define in the chiefs assembly,” Day said.

The cannabis industry has been on Day’s radar for awhile – it precedes his political career – but now, he says, is the time for some clarity in terms of how First Nations enter a new and lucrative industry.   

“Many First Nations are dealing with cannabis on a number of different levels, and the way they’re asserting this on a number of different levels is something that should be brought into center, into focus this way – becoming much more clear about how communities engage, and how communities basically come up with their decisions around cannabis, and the priorities that they set out in their cannabis policies,” said Day. “That really should be the discussion we’re having.”

Bimaadzwin is now publishing an online cannabis and hemp industry magazine, Growth and Prosperity, to highlight, in part, the economic opportunities potentially available.  

“This is cultivation, it’s administration. It’s in the field, it’s processing, and it’s distribution and retail,” said Day. “So there’s a value chain within cannabis that is really of interest to First Nations, because there has been a lot of money made so far on cannabis, and it is a lucrative industry.”

“We’re now taking the time to examine those opportunities very carefully.”

Day says there’s essentially three ways in which First Nations can enter the cannabis industry – full sovereignty, full Crown compliance or a harmonized approach that would blend elements of Indigenous sovereignty and governmental compliance.

Day believes that many First Nations will end up taking the harmonized approach.   

“I don’t think the province or the federal government want to end up in court on this, because there was no real consultation with our communities,” said Day. “There were obviously discussions, but there was nothing that was coordinated on a level…where we could actually be recognized as a party to the enabling legislation – [Bill] C-45 – and then the rollout into the provinces.”

“First Nations are saying, ‘absolutely not, we cannot just take this for what it’s worth to the federal government and the provinces, we have to demonstrate what the worth of this industry is from our perspective,’” he continued. “That means putting in place our community laws, it means sitting at the table and negotiating those frameworks with the province and the federal governments, and basically, making sure that our communities are up to speed and supporting what we’re doing.”

Bimaadzwin has been at the forefront of two National Indigenous Cannabis and Hemp Conference events since the inaugural one, which took place in Alberta in November 2018.  

Those events, Day says, have helped push the First Nations cannabis file forward by establishing dialogue.  

“We’ve had federal and provincial governments with us all along, so where the Chiefs of Ontario and the AFN [Assembly of First Nations] may have not have been able to actually move this file, you know, being the former regional chief I understand the food chain, the political apparatus in the federal family, and I’ve been able to keep this ball rolling,” he said.

Day says that through Bimaadzwin’s work with the national cannabis conferences and talks with more than a dozen First Nations, the messaging surrounding First Nations involvement in the cannabis industry has been clear – even if the process is not. 

“The playing field is not level, I’ll say that much,” said Day. “The First Nations are saying, ‘listen, if we’re recognized as jurisdictions, if we are seen as First Nations, if reconciliation is real – then we should be able to do this as well.’”

Participation in Mainstream Industry Purpose of Anishinabek Cannabis Gathering on May 25

 

(Serpent River First Nation — May 23, 2019) The third Anishinabek Cannabis Gathering will be held this Saturday in Wahnipatae First Nation. The first two gatherings were held in Alderville and Pikwakanagan First Nations. All three communities currently have cannabis dispensaries that combined generate millions of dollars annually in revenue, as well as millions of dollars in income for community members.

“First Nations in Ontario, and across the country, are declaring their interests and rights to participate in this industry,” said Isadore Day, CEO of Bimaadzwin, and co-ordinator of the gatherings. “This really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to establish a foothold in a multi-billion-dollar market that will never disappear, that will continue to grow.”

 

“Let’s not forget that when the prohibition on alcohol was lifted in the 1930s, First Nations were not allowed to leave their reserves. Even up to the 1960s, First Nations were not allowed to purchase alcohol at Ontario run liquor stores. Today, the prohibition on cannabis is over, and our Peoples are ready grow and sell this natural green commodity to mainstream Canadians.

 

“For those First Nation retailers who are currently operating, there are a number of urgent priorities. They want to be seen as legitimate businesses in the eyes of the community and leadership,” said Day. “This means they are eager to operate under community cannabis laws. They also want to safely operate under Health Canada regulations and provincial laws.”

 

A good example of the impact the cannabis industry has had in one geographical area over the past year is at Pikwakanagan First Nation on Golden Lake. The seven dispensaries that have formed the Pikwakanagan Cannabis Business Association currently employ about 100 people, who earn an estimated $2.8 million income annually. This number continues to grow. Some employees are seniors who work part-time to supplement their pensions. Indigenous cannabis business leaders are also stressing their commitment to train, hire and help advance the socio-economic interests of people who would previously be seen as unemployable.

 

“Pikwakanagan is about a 90-minute drive from the City of Ottawa. Since the three provincially regulated cannabis dispensaries opened in Ottawa on April 1st, cannabis sales actually increased in Pikwakanagan,” said Day. “In fact, business has also increased for the local gas stations, restaurants, and businesses both on and off-reserve in the Golden Lake area. As long as consumers recognize that they are able to purchase quality cannabis, they will make the trip from the Ottawa—Gatineau area.

 

“In the meantime, there are a number of First Nation communities in Ontario who are currently drafting cannabis by-laws. In the years to come, these communities will be involved in producing, processing and selling. They will also establish a network that has the potential to become a significant economic generator for generations to come.

 

“At the end of the day, every single Indigenous individual or community who wants to either invest, or become directly involved in the cannabis industry, has the potential to grow and prosper for many years to come,” concluded Day. “That economic potential must also be respected, accepted, even celebrated by mainstream governments who realize that our Peoples have every right to grow their economies, locally, regionally, nationally, and globally.”

For information on the Anishinabek Cannabis Gathering, visit   https://bimaadzwin.ca/anishinabek-cannabis-gathering/

#RedDressDay

#MMIWG #RedDressDay #MMIWG2S

Today is Red Dress Day – signifying the honour and prayers for lost and stolen sisters and their safe return and peace, in cases where their lives have been taken.
Angela Trudeau displayed this dress outside of our residence in Sault Ste Marie. We live on a busy street where people will not only see beauty, they will wonder why? If they don’t already know about this important social justice movement in our Indigenous community and in Our Nations, they should. 
 
We at Bimaadzwin express our appreciation, support and gratitude to all the families, communities, allies, advocates and activists who are working to heal and bring awareness and justice for Indigenous women, girls and two spirited people.
 
The video below is a DJ set shared by Boogey the Beat in 2014 in honour of MMIWG. Sadly, it remains relevant today.