Documentation for the founding of the North Shore Anishinabek Cannabis Association
August 29, 2019
Basis of Unity for the North Shore Anishinabek
Cannabis Association (NSACA)
Members of the NSACA agree that:
- No plant, animal or person is “illegal” under the customs and conventions of the Anishinabek people. The concept of one human prohibiting another from accessing a part of creation is foreign to us.
- The Anishinabek people are a free and sovereign people with the right to individual and collective self-determination, including the development of a self-supporting, self-regulated economy outside of the system of the British Crown and its Canadian government.
- Anishinabek people are allies, and not subjects of the British Crown and its Canadian government. Because we are a free and sovereign people, we do not pay or collect tax to, or for the Canadian government, the British Crown, or anyone else.
- We have inherent individual and collective rights as free and sovereign Anishinabek people to consume, cultivate, process, utilize, and trade or exchange any part of creation in our territory for our own sustenance and benefit, as long as we do it in a way that does not harm others.
- The way our system of governance works is that our leaders serve our people, and express the common consensus of the people. In the consensus making process of the people, all are equal, and all have a voice that must be taken into account when making collective decisions.
- Our individual and collective rights are enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People and are also recognized and affirmed in the Canadian Constitution.
- Anishinabek people have the inherent sovereign right to use natural medicines to treat ourselves, and the inherent sovereign responsibility to provide medicines to those who need them. Anishinabek people have the sovereign right to grow, process, and sell cannabis according to the customs and traditions of our people. This includes Nation-to-Nation trading relationships with other Indigenous and non-Indigenous Nations.
The following map shows the membership area of the NSACA
The North Shore Anishinabek Cannabis Association shall:
- Advocate for the interests of the members of the North Shore Anishinabek Cannabis Association who grow, sell, and consume cannabis products.
- Implement a process of self-regulation of the cannabis industry on the home territory of each member through the application of Anishinabek custom and convention that will: uphold Anishinabek self-determination, protect minors, combat addiction, keep out organized crime, provide for quality control and safe handling and consistency of product, educate consumers, regulate prices, ensure fair standards of wages and benefits to workers, and otherwise promote the public health and social well being of the Anishinabek people.
- Advocate and promote the rights of all Anishinabek people to access cannabis and to build an “above ground” self-regulated industry to grow, process, transport, retail, and trade cannabis on a nation-to-nation basis. This advocacy may be done through means including, but not limited to, workshops, publications, advertisements, and public relations campaigns.
- Encourage the diversification of the Anishinabek cannabis industry into a broader “green economy” using hemp and cannabis byproducts to produce building materials, paper, clothing, health foods, etc. in such a manner as to bring health and prosperity to the Anishinabek people.
- Defend and build political and legal support for any members of the Anishinabek Nation who face criminalization or state sanctioned targeting for participating in the Indigenous cannabis industry.
- The association shall create a mechanism whereby a portion of the revenue made through the cannabis industry will be apportioned to economic, social and cultural programs that improve the lives and support the identity and values of the people of the Anishinabek Nation.
Bylaws of the NSACA
- The North Shore Anishinabek Cannabis Association (NSACA) is an organization comprised of members of the Anishinabek Nation who are involved in the growing, processing, transporting, sale, and consumption of cannabis products.
- Any member of the Anishinabek Nation who grows, sells, or consumes cannabis products, and who agrees to uphold the mission statement, bylaws, and Community Standards of the NSACA, and who pays a yearly $20 membership fee will be accepted as a member of the association.
- A membership card will be issued to each member of the NSACA with their name, and proof of membership listed on it.
- Members of the NSACA are entitled to a 10% discount on personal purchases at participating NSACA businesses.
- Membership Groups
- Members of the NSACA join one of five bodies based upon their involvement in the cannabis industry and personal knowledge base. These five groups are: growers (anyone involved in any stage of the growing or manufacturing of cannabis); retailers (anyone involved in selling cannabis directly to consumers); consumers (members of the Anishinabek Nation who consume cannabis products); elders (grandparents who provide advice and direction concerning the customs and conventions of the Anishinabek); medicine people (Anishinabek people trained in traditional medicinal practice who provide advice and direction concerning the customs and conventions of the Anishinabek medicines).
- 3.0 Biannual Gathering
- The highest decision making body of the NSACA is its Biannual Gathering, which is a meeting of all members held twice a year.
- Biannual Gathering meetings of the NSACA occur twice yearly, in August and January.
- Meetings shall begin at 10am on Saturday morning.
- After welcoming and introductions, the Biannual Gathering shall divide into its five component parts (growers, retailers, consumers, elders, and medicine people).
- Each group will meet by itself to discuss its concerns and issues.
- Once it has met and discussed within its group, each group will pick spokespeople to reflect the general positions and perspectives held by each of the five groups.
- When the Biannual Gathering reunites, each of the five groups shall sit together so they may council together to see if they have consensus on proposals made by the other groups.
- Making Decisions
- Business is advanced by one of the five groups coming to an internal agreement to make a specific resolution – ie: “the NSACA should pass such and such a resolution or carry out such and such an action” – and presenting it to the other groups to have them discuss it. Each group seeks to arrive at a consensus to either reject, accept or modify the proposal and lets the group which proposed the initiative know whether they accept, reject, or have modified the proposal.
- If there is disagreement on the proposal, the groups discussing the proposal may send the proposal back to the originating group with proposed modifications.
- If the same matter is passed back and forth between the groups and no consensus is reached, then the matter shall be referred to the next meeting. If a matter has been brought up at three consecutive meetings and has not been resolved, then the matter shall be deemed closed and shall not be discussed again.
- Motions that are agreed upon with the consensus of all five groups are written down and recorded as official decisions of the NSACA by the NSACA secretary and shall be published on the NSACA’s website.
- Executive committee
- At its founding meeting on August 29, 2019, the NSACA shall choose an executive committee made up of a spokesperson, a treasurer, a secretary, as well as one representative from each membership group (a total of 8 members)
- The terms of the executive members is for a one year period.
- The NSACA as a whole must come to consensus on who will be chosen as spokesperson, treasurer, and secretary. The group representatives to the executive are chosen by the consensus of each group (retailers, growers, consumers, elders, and medicine people) and is ratified by consensus of the other groups.
- The role of the executive is to operate the affairs of the association in between NSACA quarterly meetings.
- The spokesperson speaks on behalf of the association publicly and is responsible for external communications.
- The treasurer is responsible for the group’s finances.
- The secretary is responsible for keeping minutes of executive and general assembly meetings, keeping track of membership, and handling internal communications amongst the membership.
- The other three executive members represent the groups that selected them and may assist the spokesperson, treasurer, and secretary as necessary, or take on other areas of responsibility.
- Executive members are recallable by the members of the group that placed them on the executive. They may be removed from their position and replaced by the group that chose them at any of the Biannual Gatherings of the NSACA.
- The executive committee shall produce a proposed agenda, and provide a written report of the executive’s activities on behalf of the NSACA no less than three weeks before each Biannual Gathering.
- The executive is collectively responsible for organizing the Biannual Gathering meeting and communicating the decisions made to the membership.
- 6.0 Commissions & Committees
- At its Biannual Gatherings the NSACA may create commissions and committees as necessary to fulfil its mandate. These bodies may include:
- Bodies created from the membership of growers, retailers, consumer, elders, and medicine people of the Association
- A trustee body to oversee the finances of the Community Contribution Fund;
- An Education and Skills development committee to build capacity within and outside the NSACA.
- An arms length compliance body / Ombudsperson to handle and investigate complaints. The Ombudsperson shall serve as a non-decision making member of the executive and shall be the person to whom all complaints concerning NSACA members or their businesses shall referred to.
- 7.0 Removal from Association
- The following are grounds for removal from the association:
- Involvement within the cannabis industry on the territory of the Anishinabek Nation in violation of the NSACA approved document “NSACA Community Standards for the growing, selling, or consumption of cannabis on Anishinabek Nation territories.”
- The executive of the association has the right to suspend a member of the association for violation of the Community Standards document. That suspension may be dismissed, altered or confirmed into a removal from the Association at the next Biannual Gathering meeting.
- Modification of bylaws and principles
- The bylaws and statement of principles of the NSACA may be modified with the consensus agreement of all five bodies of the NSACA as long as the notice of such change is provided to the membership with a two weeks notice before the Biannual Gathering meeting.
- The Executive shall maintain a communications infrastructure for the Association that will include:
- An internal email list for all members
- A Facebook discussion group
- A website to share information with the public and the group membership
- A phone list of all members
NSACA Community Standards
- These community standards on the safe operation of cannabis dispensaries have been adopted by the members of the NSACA to protect the people of our nation and our visitors.
- The community standards document is a “living document” that may be altered through the decision making process of the NSACA at one of its biannual meetings.
- Youth Protection
- Cannabis Dispensaries on the territory of the Anishinabek Nation who belong to the NSACA undertake to accept the following regulations concerning youth access to cannabis.
- Don’t sell to those under 19.
- ID people looking under 25.
- Don’t market product to a youth market.
- Health and Safety
- All products sold by members of the NSACA on the Territory of the Anishinabek Nation must be
- Tested for its potency.
- Visually inspected to ensure it is not moldy.
- Packaged in childproof containers.
- When handling cannabis products, all employees should wear gloves and take steps not to mix different cannabis products together.
- Customer info
- All retailers belonging to the NSACA must prominently display a NSACA made sign in their business indicating that they belong to the association and follow its Community Standards.
- All retailers must hold their customer data in a secure place.
- Any and all complaints about the conduct of a member of the NSACA shall be referred to the NSACA executive or the NSACA Ombudsperson where the matter shall be addressed.
- Labelling of product
- Wherever possible, cannabis products should be labeled as to how they were grown, ie. as Hydroponics, Indoor, Outdoor, Organic, etc.
- Shops undertake to keep their premises safe, and the community as a whole.
Proposed Community Contribution Fund
- The NSACA shall create a Community Contribution Fund to ensure that the cannabis industry of the Anishinabek Nation contributes to the needs of the people.
- The Community Contribution Fund shall be managed by five trustees selected by the NSACA at one of its biannual meetings. Each of the three trustees shall be chosen from a different group (retailers, growers, consumers, elders and medicine people) and together they are responsible for the operation of the fund.
- The fund shall receive payment in the following ways.
- A common childproof “exit bag” bearing the logo of the NSACA and information concerning the safe use of medicinal cannabis shall be utilized by all retail outlets that are members of the NSACA.
- All customers at retail outlets belonging to the NSACA are required to purchase an exit bag in order to take their purchased products home.
- Each store shall purchase the bags in bulk from the NSACA at their cost of production of $___
- Each exit bag shall be sold to customers at a cost $ __
- The profit made on the sales of exit bags to customers shall be donated to the community contribution fund.
- Customers need only buy one exit bag as long as they re-use it and bring it back to the store. If they forget or lose their bag, they must purchase a new bag along with their product.
- The fund will also accept voluntary donations from other sources as they are made.
- The trustees of the Community Contribution Fund shall make a quarterly report of all expenditures to the meetings of the NSACA which shall be published on the NSACA website to ensure accountability.
Proposal for the NSACA adopting Red Feather Certification
Be it resolved that, the NSACA hereby undertakes to support and participate within the Red Feather Certification protocol, a system of cannabis testing and certification adopted by three cannabis dispensaries in Alderville First Nation with testing labs – Medicine Wheel, Healing House, and the Totem Pole.
Be it further resolved that the following section on Red Feather Certification be added to the NSACA bylaws:
Red Feather Certification
- The NSACA undertakes to support and participate within the Red Feather Alliance in order to implement Red Feather Certification protocol, a system of cannabis testing and certification developed by three cannabis dispensaries in Anishinabek with testing facilities – Medicine Wheel, Healing House, and the Totem Pole.
The Red Feather Alliance
- The Red Feather Alliance is the body that issues Red Feather Certification and upholds health and safety standards in the Anishinabek cannabis industry.
- The Red Feather Alliance makes its decisions by the consensus of its decision makers.
- The Red Feather Alliance is made up of the following decision making representatives:
- One representative from each dispensary belonging to the Anishinabek Nation with a testing facility.
- Representatives selected by the Mississauga of Rice Lake Cannabis Association
- A representative of the NSACA retailers membership group
- A representative of the NSACA consumers membership group
- A representative of the NSACA growers membership group
- A representative of the NSACA elders membership group
- A representative of the NSACA medicine people membership group
- Further representation for Anishinabek Nation health organizations or leadership bodies.
- The Red Feather Alliance meets on a monthly basis to process, assess, and issue certifications.
- Red Feather Certification identifies a product as being not only made by Indigenous people with the right and freedom to make such products, but as being quality controlled to the highest of health and safety protocols. The Red Feather Certification is a standard that identifies a particular cannabis product as meeting Indigenous requirements for medicine. Products bearing the Red Feather seal must:
- Have been made in a way that is good for Mother Earth,
- Not contain pesticides or herbicides,
- Be tested and labelled for CBD and THC properties,
- Return a portion of its revenue produced to support an Indigenous cause, community, or organization.
- Red Feather Certified products are an independent third party way to identify that a particular product was made in accordance with Anishinabek custom and convention to the protocol and standards of the people in the community of Alderville. Red Feather Certified products can thus be used for tax free nation-to-nation trading and for provision to people who are specifically seeking a certified Indigenous medicine for their health needs. (Non-native medical patients are increasingly seeking Indigenous cannabis because they know that Health Canada allows for the use of up to 21 different pesticides in the growing of cannabis, while Red Feather certified products allow for none.)
- Parties seeking Red Feather Certification shall fill out an online form hosted on the website www.ricelakecannabis.org, and then have a face to face meeting with a representative of the Red Feather Alliance. The application fee for certification is used to cover the labour costs of certification and the testing costs. The members of the Alliance may also use their monthly meeting as a space to share knowledge and technique, and may bring in experts to provide sessions for training and skills development.
- As a way to maintain accountability and ensure transparency, the Red Feather Alliance shall provide regular reports of its certification results and processes to meetings of the MRLCA, the NSACA and other concerned Anishinabek organizations.
Proposal for Ombudsperson Position in the NSACA
Proposal: That the following text describing the position of Ombudsperson be added to the bylaws of the NSACA for the purposes of enhancing the safety and security of the Anishinabek cannabis industry.
Role and duties of the NSACA Ombudsperson
- The NSACA Ombudsperson provides an independent, impartial and confidential process through which Anishinabek people and the general public may find assistance and advice in the just, fair and equitable resolution of concerns related to the Anishinabek cannabis industry.
- The role of the Ombudsperson is to represent the interests of the Anishinabek people and the general public by investigating and addressing complaints regarding public safety, maladministration, or the violation of rights within the Anishinabek cannabis industry.
- The duties of the Ombudsperson are to investigate complaints and attempt to resolve them, usually through recommendations or mediation between the affected parties.
- The Ombudsperson is accountable to and appointed by the biannual meetings of the NSACA.
- The Ombudsperson may also make recommendations when trends, patterns, policies or procedures of the NSACA generate concerns or conflicts, and promotes discussion on community wide concerns.
- The Ombudsperson shall carry out the responsibilities of the office independently of the executive and administrative bodies of the NSACA.
- The contact information (email, phone number and website) of the NSACA Ombudsperson shall be announced and made public on the website and public materials produced by the NSACA.
- Any complaints about the Anishinabek cannabis industry by either Anishinabek Nation members or members of the general Canadian public shall be directed to the NSACA Ombudsperson.
- The method for recording a complaint shall be to fill out a form on the NSACA website identifying the nature of the complaint, a suggestions for how the complaint could be resolved, and their contact information.
- Once the Ombudsperson is notified of the complaint, the Ombudsperson shall consider the complaint and make an initial investigation to determine if the complaint is of a serious nature.
- If the Ombudsperson considers the complaint to be of a serious enough nature as to require further investigation, then the Ombudsperson shall interview the complainant and the respondents to the complaint, and produce a report detailing their findings and recommendations for solutions to the complaint.
- A copy of this report (with the identity of the complainant redacted) shall be forwarded to the NSACA Executive who may take action to address it.
- Any member of the Executive who is a party to the complaint shall declare a conflict of interest and not take part in the discussion as to how to proceed.
- The Executive may choose to refer the problem and its solution to another body such as for example: Chief and Council, an outside police force, or another Anishinabek organization or institution.
- Before each Biannual meeting, the Ombudsperson shall produce an incident report outlining all of the complaints they have received over the last quarter, as well as a report of all investigations carried out by the Ombudsperson.
- Services provided by the Ombudsperson are founded on a number of general principles including independence, impartiality, confidentiality, informality, and accessibility. Fairness in decisions shall be the special concern of the Ombudsperson. Among other things, that means that the Ombudsperson shall make decisions and recommendations:
- with reasonable promptness;
- in accordance with applicable policies and procedures;
- taking into account all relevant information.
- The Office of the Ombudsperson is not meant to replace established channels of assistance but may be used if an individual needs assistance in identifying where to go, would prefer to discuss a problem with a neutral party, or has already gone through established channels without satisfaction.
- The Ombudsperson shall have no actual authority to impose remedies or sanctions, or to enforce any policy, rule or procedure. They may, however, make recommendations for resolving concerns or improving policies, rules or procedures which may be implemented by the various bodies of the NSACA.
- The Office of the Ombudsperson shall not deal with concerns from any individuals who do not present that concern personally. Third parties attempting to initiate action on behalf of another individual shall be informed of this policy and instructed to persuade the injured party to contact the Ombudsperson directly.
- The Ombudsperson acts solely in an advisory or intermediary role and does not make or alter NSACA policy.