Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg - 2019 Cannabis Referendum

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Dear Community Members –

I am writing this letter today to seek your support to hold a referendum where all band members can vote on whether the community of Kitigan Zibi should implement by-laws that allows for establishing regulated cannabis dispensaries in our community. Over the past few months, I have had many community members both young and old support me in my efforts to open a cannabis dispensary. Currently there are no avenues within our community to participate in this economic venture. I have been asked by many community members to take the lead on this issue and therefore I am introducing a petition for a referendum on this matter as attached. I hope you take the time to read and consider signing the petition.

As you are aware, in June 2018, the Government of Canada passed legislation “Bill C-45, The Cannabis Act.” The Act legalizes and regulates recreational cannabis. The federal and provincial governments have completely disregarded First Nations jurisdiction and have yet again left First Nations people out of any economic opportunities with respect to selling and regulating cannabis products. In December 2018, the Assembly of First Nations which is made up of 633 First Nation communities in Canada held a meeting in Ottawa and unanimously passed resolution number 90/2018 – First Nations Cannabis Jurisdiction, as attached. The resolution clearly acknowledges the fact that First Nation peoples were left out of all consultation on the cannabis legislation and calls for supporting First Nations in working together to support the development of a First Nations cannabis jurisdiction option that includes First Nations distribution centers and retail among other details.

The federal government has left the details and decisions to the provinces regarding the sale and distribution of cannabis. At present, the Government of Quebec operates fifteen (15) dispensaries across the province. Quebec has created a provincial retail monopoly for cannabis and is not issuing licenses to non-state individuals or companies. Again, the provincial and federal governments set the rules and reap the economic benefits without any thought of inclusion for our peoples. Absolutely none of the licensed dispensaries are located within a First Nation community and this is why some First Nation communities are creating their own laws to provide licenses to their citizens to establish and operate a dispensary on their territory on their terms. What I am proposing is that the community of Kitigan Zibi not be left behind. I firmly believe that we need to look at establishing our own laws, community by-laws to participate in this venture. For far too long, our community has been left out of many opportunities and economic gains that are taking place across our traditional territory. I for one, am tired of our rights being trampled on, ignored and abused by all levels of governments.

I am seeking your support via signature on the attached petition. To be clear, all I am asking for is the same type of referendum that our community has passed previously with respect to the sale of alcohol in our community. We always hear about exercising and practicing our inherent and jurisdictional rights and this is exactly what I am proposing. This is a tremendous opportunity that our community should lead where we establish well thought out laws with respect to cannabis dispensaries so that we can ensure public safety, regulation and accessibility. We cannot let another economic opportunity pass us by.

I am open to meeting with anyone who wants to discuss this issue. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions with respect to this matter please email me at . In the meantime, I thank you for your consideration.

Shawn Jerome



I, Shawn Jerome, band AND community member for 36 years, propose to establish a Cannabis and (CBD) Dispensary in Kitigan Zibi, our unceded, unsurrendered, Anishnabe territory.


Public safety

  • Sale of licensed products: Eliminating risks for contamination
  • Measured doses: Allows for adjustment and titration in dosing
  • Mandatory 3 week training period for all sales representatives/employees
  • Strict prohibition of sale to minors 17 yrs and younger: Proof of identification required at point of sale
  • Public education & access to information
  • Annual educational seminar with guest speakers funded by dispensary
  • Educational materials readily available on-site, pamphlets, flyers

Regulation & Legalization

  • Establish a collaborative working relationship with KZA Band, KZPD and Band members
  • An Oversight Board consisting of KZA Community members with at least one Elder and one Youth
  • Advocate for our rights as Anishnabe people against the Federal and Provincial Governments and their non-existent consultation with First Nations when implementing the Cannabis Act


  • Equal opportunity for access to medicinal products
  • Increase access to alternative medicine for: Opioid withdrawal and management, immunological disorders, digestive issues, sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, cancer etc.

Economic Growth & Development

  • Economic independence
  • Generation of revenue to re-invest into community – long term
  • Full-time and Part-time employment opportunities for community members

Contributions / Donations

  • Monthly contribution to be determined to be entered into a charitable trust with KZA that would be accessible to Youth ages 0-17:
  • Emergency services: food, clothing, shelter
  • Medical devices/supplies not covered by RAMQ/NIHB ie. Vision care/ dental care
  • Sponsorship for extracurricular activities
  • Maintenance/expansion of play parks
  • 10% discount on ALL products for elders aged 55+

Kichi Meegwetch Kakina!