Canadian Government Pressed to Grant First Nations Ability to Regulate Cannabis Production

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Canadian government officials are being urged to allow First Nations peoples the ability to regulate their own cannabis production and sales.

Canadian Senate Committee on Indigenous Peoples is calling for their government to grant First Nations peoples the opportunity to regulate their own cannabis production, as well as sales (1). The committee published a report (2) mentioning how First Nations people have not been provided the same economic circumstances created from the legalization of cannabis. This chamber also has witnessed that previous complaints made by First Nations before cannabis’s legalization, have not been answered. One example listed was that exclusive power would be given to the federal government allowing them to regulate matters related to First Nations and their reserve lands.

When the Cannabis Act was being discussed in 2018 (1), representatives of First Nations challenged how giving them jurisdiction over the distribution, sale, and regulation of cannabis was “an essential element of their inherent right to self-government and would ensure their full participation in the economic opportunities that legalization was to provide,” (1). By disregarding this topic, First Nations feel they have been excluded from the cannabis market and are asking for the Minister of Health to draw up new legislation to rectify the Cannabis Act.


Reported to MJ Biz Daily, a spokesperson for Health Canada, stated that they encourage the growth of an inclusive and diverse cannabis industry. “As part of this commitment, the department has taken targeted actions to assist interested Indigenous communities with their participation in the cannabis industry, including the establishment of an Indigenous Navigator Service,” the Health Canada spokesperson commented (1).

The Senate Committee on Indigenous Peoples also is working to increase funding for policing and enforcement of First Nations cannabis laws, as well as, more funding and training targeting First Nations police services.


  1. Price, S. Government Urged to Allow First Nations to Regulate Cannabis Production (accessed Jul 6, 2023).
  2. (accessed Jul 6, 2023).
  3. Lamers, M. Canadian Panel Urges Bigger Role for First Nations in Cannabis (accessed Jul 6, 2023).