'A colonial view': Manitoba First Nation criticizes province for taking legal action over cannabis store

A Manitoba First Nation is speaking out against the province for taking legal action against them over the operation of a cannabis store on their own land.

The Manitoba government wants the store Indigenous Bloom to close for operating without a Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority licence, Long Plain First Nation is part owner of the store, which is located in Portage la Prairie, Man.

Chief Dennis Meeches of Long Plain First Nation said he’s not surprised by the province’s actions, adding that the store is fully compliant under Health Canada’s regulations.

“I just don’t understand the reasoning behind the province’s view on this, because if anything economic reconciliation should be on the forefront for any Indigenous government and any working partners with the federal government and other governments.”

Meeches noted the province has “a colonial view” on how this should work.

“To be locked out of access to the economy, basically land taken away, so there’s a lot of frustration,” he said.

“This is just another classic example of a government just completely disconnected from Indigenous people.”

Meeches said he wants to talk to the government about the issue, “because they need to recognize that we’re also a legitimate government too. That’s been part of the challenge under colonial law and history.”

He said they will not be closing the store until the matter is heard in court.

In a statement, the province said the “mandatory requirements ensure the integrity of controlled and approved products from licensed producers authorized under the federal Cannabis Act, and they apply regardless of whether or not a store is located on First Nations Land.”

- With files from CTV’s Michael D’Alimonte.