RCMP, Tobique in showdown over medicinal marijuana - APTN NewsAPTN News

RCMP, Tobique in showdown over medicinal marijuana



(Granddaddy Perp bud under a magnifier in Tobique. Photo: Tom Fennario/APTN)

Tom Fennario
APTN National News

Maliseet in New Brunswick and the RCMP are at odds over whether the community of Tobique has the lawful ability to sell medicinal marijuana.

The issue came to a head on Oct. 5 when officers raided the offices of Tribal ReLeaf, a medicinal cannabis dispensary on Tobique First Nation.

“This is a constitutional infringement on a First Nation, plain and simple,” said Gerald Bear, director of Tribal ReLeaf.

The RCMP took an undisclosed amount of marijuana as well as two computers.

Several Releaf employees were served notices to appear in court, which were later rescinded after Tobique Chief Ross Perley arrived on scene and spoke on the phone to RCMP higher-ups.

“What I know is that 40-50 people gathered in the area while police were on scene, the investigation at this time is still ongoing, and there’s been no charges laid,” said Corporal Jullie Rogers-Marsh of the New Brunswick RCMP.


Gerald Bear, 61, has operated tribal ReLeaf since it opened in July.

The Tobique First Nation owns 51 per cent of the company and in 2012 was licensed to operate by chief and council.

Bear said every effort has been made to let Canada and New Brunswick know that Tobique, about 170 km northwest of Fredericton, is getting into the medical Marijuana business.

“We met with the province, we met with the RCMP, and told them our intentions,” Bear told APTN News. “Our indigenous government here basically has an inherent right to self-govern under the constitution.”

Gerald Bear, Director of the Tribal ReLeaf Medicinal marijuana dispensary 1000 x 560

(Gerald Bear at ReLeaf in Tobique. Photo: Tom Fennario/APTN)

The RCMP said that a previously sent cease and desist order was ignored and that this is the first they’ve heard of any resolution being passed by the band regarding marijuana.

“I’m not aware if there’s anything in place, we have an obligation to enforce the laws as they exist today, and we would enforce the laws of Canada,” said Rogers-Marsh.

Furthermore, the RCMP said that the marijuana being sold at Tribal ReLeaf is unregulated and are trying to determine where it comes from.

“People who purchase it need to be aware that it’s unknown, that what they’re buying could come from anywhere,” Rogers-Marsh said.

Bear refused to reveal who the cannabis suppliers are.

He said that they are growers who have permits from Health Canada.

He thinks there’s an unfair double standard in Canada for First Nations when it comes to legislating and selling medical marijuana.

“Vancouver made a city bylaw and there’s 80 dispensaries operating in Vancouver today,” he said. “What’s happening with that? There’s other dispensaries in other non-Indian communities that are operating in the Maritimes, what’s up with that?”

The RCMP said they have sent a cease and desist letter to another dispensary under their jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, the mounties met with the Tobique band council to talk about the October 5 raid.

Neither party wanted to discuss the outcome of the meeting.

The cannabis dispensary is still open and they have no intention of turning over a new leaf.

Bear said the onus should be on Canada and New Brunswick to adapt to their laws.

“There’s bilateral agreements that talk about respecting first nation governments, let’s see it happen,” he said.

Contact Tom here: tfennario@aptn.ca

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7 Responses to “RCMP, Tobique in showdown over medicinal marijuana”

  1. katorats@protonmail.com'
    RKM October 20, 2017 at 3:36 pm #

    I agree with sovreignty but I see all these stories they’re making it sounnd like these dispensary owners speak for the community like everybody is happy about the things.. my rez has alot of these places and the only people who are happy and benifit are the guys that sell it and the white peoplethat come from the city to buy it. They dont care about the rest of us who got to put up with the cars driving around so fast and people gettin high in the parking lots and driving around and our young kids beign able to buy stuff. and I know some of the owners sell other stuff too like painkillers and hard stuff. Its bad but the people in the council ignore it and the people are afraid to talk about it

  2. Bobscott230@gmail.com'
    Robert October 14, 2017 at 10:46 pm #

    If this wasnt on a reserve and was operated by a non aboriginal this wouldn’t even make the news. Laws apply to everyone, aboriginals are not above them

  3. Kat.woodma@yahoo.ca'
    Kat October 13, 2017 at 11:51 am #

    It is about Provincial greed…the RCMP are being “goons” for the Province so they may exclusively control the distribution and sale of marijuana. That is why they wanna know where it comes from!! The Federal police trying to serve a provincial warrant….hmmmm interesting!!

  4. Vinnytoney1965@gmail.com'
    Vinny toney October 13, 2017 at 9:23 am #

    Treaty laws supersede the Federal an provincial governments laws . So why can’t the governments get over that. We have rights not privileges. Surpreme Court of Canada told Canada to implement our Treaties an laws. Maybe the governments are SCARED we may make a living… We don’t need their permission to do anything all we have to do is just do it an the governments have to suck it up. TREATY LAWS WIN EVERY TIME I SUPREME COURT OF CANADA. 189 CASES TO DATE AND THE TREATY NEVER LOST.

  5. Melody.m.sappier1408@hotmail.com'
    Melody October 12, 2017 at 11:45 pm #

    Chiefs name is NOT Ron Kerley. CORRECTION: Ross Perley

    Thank you. It has been corrected

  6. tom.woodlandprinters@gmail.com'
    tom duncan October 12, 2017 at 10:55 pm #

    RCMP are very bad racists.

    • nancymorgan312@gmail.com'
      Nancy Morgan October 16, 2017 at 10:18 pm #

      I pray government legislwtion let’s first Nations go through with this,as Bear has his permit from BC