This week, the the Tsuu T'ina Nation in Alberta is hosting The National Indigenous Cannabis & Hemp Conference—the first conference to focus on the impact legalization has had on indigenous communities in countries like Canada.
Tsuu T'ina Chief Lee Crowchild says cannabis legalization has been at the centre of many conversations in indigenous communities and the conference provides a space for the topic to be discussed more broadly.
"The social, economic and health benefits will have an impact on each of our communities for generations to come," Chief Crowchild said in a letter obtained by The Star Calgary. "It is important that we are all fully informed as to how the legalization of cannabis will affect our communities, from health and safety, to economic benefits, to our treaty rights and sovereignty."
The event will run from November 19 to 23 at the Grey Eagle Resort and Casino on the Tsuu T’ina Nation. Speakers include Crowchild along with Canada's Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor and a host of cannabis executives.
Several Indigenous communities across the country have already made moves to enter the cannabis industry in hopes of financial prospects. Some - like the Madawaska Nation in New Brunswick - are entering the industry with consent from provincial and federal authorities. Others, like the Muscowpetung Nation in Saskatchewan, are defying the government by moving ahead with cannabis sales without provincial permission. So questions of sovereignty and independence in regards to the cannabis issue are sure to be a hot topic throughout the event.