Montreal

Kahnawake cannabis law would restrict access to people 21 and up

The Mohawk Council of Kahnawake is proposing its own cannabis laws, separate from federal ones, limited to members 21 years old and older.

Proposed law would create Cannabis Control Board, in charge of regulating and enforcing the law

Kahnawake has written up a draft cannabis law, posted for community feedback over the next 30 days. (CBC News)

The Mohawk Council of Kahnawake is proposing its own cannabis laws, separate from federal ones, that would limit access to marijuana to people 21 and older.

A draft of the law has been posted online for all residents to consult over the next 30 days.

The bill would create a Kahnawake Cannabis Control Board, in charge of regulating and enforcing the law.

Band council chief Gina Deer says the proposal to restrict the sale of marijuana to those 21 and older came after suggestions from the community and police service.

"One of the key elements here is the forming brain, the developing brain and how [cannabis] affects that." Deer told CBC's Daybreak.

"It's just in line with what we believe is right within our community."

Those wanting to distribute marijuana will not only require approval from Health Canada, but approval from Kahnawake as well.

On Wednesday, First Nations chiefs from across Canada called on the federal government to amend its own marijuana legislation to prevent provincial regulations from applying on reserves.

A resolution was passed at the Special Chiefs Assembly to allow the Assembly of First Nations to lobby the government to make the changes.

"The federal and provincial governments must recognize and respect First Nations sovereignty and jurisdiction over their reserves and traditional territories," the resolution says.

The director general of Health Canada's cannabis legalization and regulation branch has said the federal legislation and those of First Nations can both be in place.

"The reality is, the way the legislation is being designed is they are meant to coexist, not meant to step on each other's toes," said Eric Costen.

With files from CBC Daybreak