A cannabis store operating outside the Saskatchewan government’s regulatory framework is now open in a First Nation community 70 kilometres northeast of Regina after the band passed its own cannabis legislation.
Justice Minister Don Morgan said Tuesday the province wants the store to shut down.
Morgan said the federal government gave each province the responsibility of setting up and enforcing regulations for cannabis retailers, which includes First Nations reserves.
“It would be our position that somebody set one up without a provincial licence would not be legal, would not be authorized,” Morgan told reporters after Tuesday’s question period at the legislature.
“I would urge them to stop going ahead with it.”
Morgan said more permits will likely become available “over the next coming months.”
He said anyone wanting to open a shop, including the Muscowpetung First Nation, should apply for a licence rather than hurt their reputation by opening a store illegally.
Morgan said he will let the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) decide how it wants to move forward to address the shop.
“I don’t want this to become an enforcement issue. We’re looking for this to be a compliance and licensing issue moving forward,” he said.
The Muscowpetung First Nation issued a news release after Morgan spoke to reporters, saying “In the interim, we can advise that we are waiting to hear from Canada concerning our request to sit down, in the spirit of reconciliation, and negotiate First Nation’s jurisdiction over cannabis.”