Cache Creek council recently heard a proposal to open a retail cannabis shop under the auspices of First Nations laws beside Junctions Coffee House on East Trans-Canada Highway. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)

Cache Creek council recently heard a proposal to open a retail cannabis shop under the auspices of First Nations laws beside Junctions Coffee House on East Trans-Canada Highway. (Photo credit: Journal files)

Cache Creek hears proposal for third retail cannabis store

Kyle Minnabarriet asks council to grant business licence under auspices of First Nations laws

As two proposed retail cannabis stores currently make their way through the licensing process, Cache Creek council heard about a possible third one at their meeting April 4.

Kyle Minnabarriet made a presentation to council regarding his desire to open a non-medical cannabis store in Cache Creek under the auspices of First Nations Laws, Right and Title and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP).

Minnabarriet introduced himself as a member of Bonaparte First Nation, and said that he was asking council to grant him a business licence to operate an Indigenous-owned, operated, governed, and regulated health and wellness store, which would feature cannabis as one of its main products. He said that he looked forward to strengthening the relationship with the Cache Creek business community, “while also exercising [my] inherent right to operate under the Secwepemc/Pukaist cannabis laws.

“I will pay my taxes like any other business in town, and I will run under the Secwepemc and Pukaist cannabis laws, which I feel would supersede the provincial laws at this time.”

His request comes as the first two proposed establishments — Club Cannabis at 1064 Trans-Canada Highway (Oasis Hotel) and Marlee’s Den at 1406 Cariboo Highway (sunflower patch building) — have been following the lengthy and detailed approval process set out by municipal, provincial, and federal legislation.

Minnabarriet said he would be operating under several articles of UNDRIP, and cited Article 3, which states that Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination and may freely pursue their economic, social, and cultural development. He also cited Article 4, which states that in exercising the right to self-determination, Indigenous people have the right to autonomy in internal and local affairs, as well as the means for financing their autonomous functions.

“That would mean I would use this to further my family, as well as my community,” he explained

Minnabarriet concluded by saying this was a base to start the conversation.

“Hopefully we can come to an understanding. I feel that by granting me this business licence, it would be a great step toward reconciliation with the village of Cache Creek and surrounding Indigenous communities. You could be a leader in the municipal world in leading the way in the reconciliation process by seeing the rights of Indigenous people on their traditional territories.”

The proposed location of the store would be at 1153 East Trans-Canada Highway (beside Junctions Coffee House). Minnabarriet noted the building’s owner was “more than happy” to enter into a lease with him pending the approval of a business licence. In March 2021, Williams Lake First Nation had approached council about establishing a retail cannabis store at that location.

Later in the April 4 meeting, council considered Minnabarriet’s request, with Mayor Santo Talarico saying that it needed some discussion and deferring to Chief Administrative Officer Damian Couture for comments. Couture said that from a risk perspective, the village would have to look into the legality of approving the business: “I can’t say with certainty that we can or cannot do something like that. The other thing would be consulting the RCMP.

“I know that the provincial program is in place for a reason and it’s very stringent. We have two applications that are going through that process as it is. This just adds more layers to the onion that is cannabis law.”

Coun. Sue Peters mentioned the “jurisdictional precedent” that would be set by approving the request. Talarico said that the village should throw the question back to the province to sort out, rather than involving the village’s legal team: “It’s not our job to sort out their regulations and pay for legal advice.” He also confirmed that if all the Cache Creek cannabis store proposals were successful, it would mean three such stores in the village.

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