Cannabis dispensary on Alderville First Nation wants Ottawa to butt out

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Annette Francis 
APTN National News
Business has been good at a new cannabis dispensary on Alderville First Nation near Peterboroug, Ontario.

“It’s just amazing seeing all walks of life come through here, so many different people,” said Mel Marsden manager of Medicine Wheel Natural Healing.

They’ve been coming for everything lip balm to skin ointment, candy and, of course, a variety of marijuana.

But the owner said it’s also about creating jobs.

“Were creating an employment boom and economic boom,” said owner Rob Stevenson, “We’re going to have bakers, we’re going to have Indigenous growers and that’s something that we’re really trying to focus on

But as shops like these continue to pop up on First Nations as Canada gets closer to legalizing pot some say there are challenges that need to be looked at.

“I remain optimistic that First Nations will benefit from any revenue generated from these ventures, while historically Ontario First Nations have been neglected in resource revenue sharing with the province of Ontario, this new industry provides an opportunity to turn a new leaf and to examine innovative revenue sharing opportunities,” said Chief Isadore Day of the Chiefs of Ontario.

But Stevenson said there shouldn’t be any interference from Ottawa.

“Each community is different, first of all, and I think it should be up to each community on how dispensaries and growing is run on those communities,” he said.

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