The head of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation says the First Nation is still undecided whether it will move forward with a retail permit to sell cannabis.
Wednesday was the first day marijuana could be legally sold in government approved stores across the country and PBCN holds one of the 60 cannabis retail permits in Saskatchewan.
However, Chief Peter Beatty says the First Nation is still several months away from deciding whether or not it will pursue the opportunity.
“We need to be consulting first of all with our membership, our communities, as you know, Peter Ballantyne is approximately about 11,000, thereabouts, just a little under 11,000 band members,” he says. “So, anything that is going to affect our members or communities, we’re going to have to consult with them first.”
Aside from seeking membership feedback, Beatty says Peter Ballantyne has to decide whether retail selling of legal marijuana would be to its economic benefit.
“The fact that we were given one licence, our economic development arm of PBCN has said that, ‘You know, you’re not going to get by with one or this one licence doesn’t really make sense because you’re not going to be making a whole pile of money and there is no rebate program (taxes) like, per se, as is the case with gas and tobacco products.’”
The federal government has said it has no plans to share tax revenues gained from the sale of cannabis with First Nations.
The Lac La Ronge Indian Band and Onion Lake Cree Nation have also been issued retail cannabis permits by Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority.