Over the course of several years, we have witnessed some spectacular changes in the world, all because of a bizarre little plant called marijuana. While regarded as a source of crime and laziness at one point in history, cannabis has somehow climbed the proverbial ladder to become the center of a budding multi-billion dollar industry. One nation, in particular, has shown great enthusiasm over the legalization of the drug. Since October 17, 2018, residents of Canada have been allowed to indulge in the drug (under the jurisdiction of provincial laws). As a result, some of the first marijuana-millionaires have entered the market, and one particularly interesting location has opened its doors to the public. Grab your snowshoes and your parkas. We are going to explore Alderville, Canada’s first cannabis boomtown.
First of Its Kind from the First Nations
Recently, on a typical Thursday afternoon, the Medicine Wheel Natural Healing store was bustling with activity as customer after customer purchased bundles of cannabis products. Offering a wide variety of items including cannabis-chocolates and weed-infused beverages, this store has become a notable location along Canada’s Green Mile, a stretch of land located in Canada’s first marijuana boomtown: Alderville.
To the cannabis community’s frustration, after marijuana was legalized in Canada, many people still have to wait until 2019 before they can purchase edibles nationwide. In the meantime, though, multiple entrepreneurs in the First Nations (indigenous people of Canada) have opened independent recreational stores, which are completely legal under the law of tribal sovereignty. Ultimately, this has placed Alderville as a capital for edibles.
Rights of Indigenous Canadians
Overall, towns like Alderville and related cannabis shops have prospered due to the sovereign rights of Canada’s Indigenous Peoples, under the 2007 United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Canadian Constitution Act of 1982. Under Section 35 of the 1982 Act, tribes have the right of self-government (separate from Canada)and have the right to sell recreational cannabis. In fact, the little green plant holds more than legal value, in this case.
Among the Ojibway people, passing the “smudge” (or marijuana joint) is a social activity in which people remove negative energy and find harmony. As part of its brand image, Medicine Wheel Natural Healing has reintroduced the public to the Ojibway language. One word of particular importance is green mashkiki (the term for cannabis plant), translated as “green medicine.”
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