The Kure Cannabis Dispensary on the Skwah First Nation reserve on Dyke Road opened about three weeks ago, according to staff. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

Marijuana shop opens up on Chilliwack First Nations reserve

Banned in the municipality, city hall has no jurisdiction while not all band members are supportive

A new cannabis shop opened its doors in Chilliwack recently, but this one won’t be fined and won’t face the same pressure to shut down from city hall as the last one did.

That’s because The Kure Cannabis Dispensary doesn’t fall under municipal oversight as it’s located on the Skwah First Nation reserve.

Having started selling marijuana about three weeks ago, the shop is located in a converted container surrounded by a gravel parking lot and barbed wire security fencing.

Inside is a clean and professional looking display of numerous brands of packaged edibles, CBD oils, vaporizers, a wide selection of marijuana flowers, and other cannabis products such as hash and shatter.

A staff member approached by The Progress Monday did not want to be interviewed on the record, but she said they were operating in advance of legalization in Canada, which they hope will come as early as August.

She said they have strict security, including cameras, and they operate under the rules that are likely to be in place when marijuana is legalized in Canada. This means they only sell to those aged 19 and above and they ask for ID, children are not allowed in the shop, and they won’t sell more than 30 grams to a customer at one time.

The shop has prominent signage on Dyke Road, and has been advertising with a trailer and logo visible from Wolfe Road near Townsend Park.

But not everyone from Skwah is on board with the new business.

“With the drug problems that plague our reserve I’m against it,” Skwah band member Jay Kathleen Mussell told The Progress.

Indeed, Mussell refers to an issue many years ago that was made public when gangs and drugs started to overwhelm the reserve.

• READ MORE: Peace Walk against gangs and violence led by Skwah First Nation leaders in 2011

“If I thought the majority of the band supported this enterprise and that there was an agreement in place to financially benefit the whole community, I might feel different. Having said that, I far as I can tell it’s an illegal operation”

Asked to comment on the band council’s position, councillor Lara Mussell said the business is on privately held CP (Certificate of Possession) land.

“As a Band councillor, I was not made aware of the dispensary business opening up and learned of it at the same time as the rest of the community when the ‘coming soon’ signage popped up,” she said, adding that she’s heard concerns at the band’s last membership meeting, but not because they are selling marijuana.

“The concerns were more around how to mitigate the increased traffic, people that the business will bring.”

As for Chilliwack city hall, which has a city-wide prohibition on marijuana dispensaries while a zoning bylaw is drafted to deal with coming legalization, the mayor, for one, isn’t impressed.

“The future of retail marijuana is a complex issue facing municipalities,” Mayor Sharon Gaetz said when asked about the Skwah store. “However, at this time, the sale of marijuana is illegal, so we encourage anyone who sees the sale of marijuana to contact the police.

“It is regretful to hear that a dispensary has opened nearby while provincial regulations are being developed, but we would be happy to share our current practices with any of our interested First Nations neighbours as we know they will face many of the same challenges regarding retail sales of marijuana.”

As for the legal ramifications, the Chilliwack RCMP said only that investigation and charges are possible.

“Businesses and/or individuals operating in contravention of the [Controlled Drugs and Substances Act] and Health Canada regulations may be subject to investigation and criminal charges in accordance with Canadian laws.”


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Langley chamber joins call to kill ‘no pipeline ever’ law

Bill C-69 will hurt the local Langley economy, Chamber warns

World Day of Prayer returns to Langley

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church is hosting the annual day on March 1.

Young Langley family plagued by angry cab customers

A couple rents a house formerly used by a cab firm, and unwelcome visitors knocking.

Woman groped on Langley’s 208th Street

Police are asking for tips to identify the man responsible.

PHOTOS: Family Day a success at Aldergrove Telephone Museum

A record number of people visited the Telephone Museum on Monday to tour the historic exhibits.

VIDEO: Nail-biter game against Germany tonight earns Langley’s Team Canada a win

Langley’s Team Tardi is 5-2 at the junior curling worlds in Nova Scotia, hoping to defend their title

Ontario man accused of killing 11-year-old daughter dies in hospital, police say

Roopesh Rajkumar had been hospitalized with what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

B.C. Seniors Advocate questions labour shortage in care homes

Are there really no workers, or are care aide wages too low?

B.C. business groups worry about looming economic decline in wake of NDP budget

The party’s second government budget focused on plenty of spending, business advocates say

Man injured in police shooting near Nelson has died: B.C. police watchdog

The death follows an incident in Bonnington on Feb. 13

Most Read