(FORT WILLIAM FIRST NATION, ON) – As the cannabis industry is gearing up all across the nation, there appears to be a slower approach taken by Fort William First Nation.
For quite some time now there has been marijuana available for order through legal online stores, Stephane LaLonde, wanted to open a pot shop on his home of Fort William First Nation. LaLonde is a status card carrying First Nation individual.
Court documents obtained by TRCCTB.COM state that in April of 2018 LaLonde approached the Band Council through the Economic Development Officer of Fort William First Nation with a business proposal to open a cannabis dispensary once the Cannabis Act S.C. 2018 c.16 was enacted into Canadian law in October 2018.
Further stated is that the Band Council, which includes Leo Bannon Senior, Leo Bannon Junior, Tannis Kastern, Sheldon Bannon, Jennelle Charlie, Michele Solomon, Sherry Pelletier, Phil Pelletier, Kyle Maclaurin, Anthony Collins, Yvette Greenwald and Desiree Morriseau, had agreed to discuss the proposal with LaLonde with a view of signing a “Band Council Resolution” also known as a “BCR”, permitting the cannabis dispensary to open in 2018.
Court documents state that instead, the Band Council has actively taken steps to preclude discussions regarding LaLonde’s proposal from occurring in any meaningful way.
Further stated in the court documents filed by LaLonde is that on or about April 2019, Chief Peter Collins met with LaLonde and discussed LaLonde helping the Chief to be re-elected in the upcoming May 2019 election in exchange for passing the BCR for his proposal.
LaLonde acted on this promise and helped the Chief become re-elected by using his goodwill and influence to rally support and encourage voting for the Chief.
However, court documents state that after Peter Collins was re-elected, he did not follow through on his promise to aid in the opening of the cannabis dispensary through the passing of the BCR. Instead, refusing to bring the proposal to the Band Council and has left LaLonde without recourse.
According to the court documents, the proposal made by LaLonde was not and has never been the subject of any meaningful discussion b the Band Council as promised.
Further, on or about March 16, 2018, LaLonde circulated a petition in the community of Fort William First Nation to ascertain whether the proposed cannabis dispensary would be supported by Fort William First Nation community members. The petition demonstrated unanimous support by the community for the proposed dispensary to be opened according to LaLonde’s proposal.
Court documents state tho, that Band Council instead of adhering to what their community clearly supports, has revoked their by-laws as an attempt to stall any decision regarding LaLonde’s proposal moving forward.
LaLonde is seeking damages in the form of economic hardship, loss of income, pain and suffering and other damages unable to be determined now as they are still ongoing.
LaLonde further claims that the Chief and Council’s conduct was intentional and malicious.
A number of residents on Fort William First Nation have stated that they are blown back by how fast CnC has responded multiple times now to shut down a pot shop, but have seemingly failed to shut down ongoing and well-known crack and fentanyl dealers in the community.
Fort William First Nation has not had a chance to respond to these allegations. None of these allegations or issues have been proven in court.
Citizen journalist born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario. I like pizza and reporting on concerning events that are in my home region, or that impact it. You can read more by clicking here.