Curve Lake marijuana store owner charged with trafficking

Eleven days after opening, a marijuana dispensary in Curve Lake was closed down by the community’s police force.

Insp. Barry Petathegoose of the Anishinabek Police Service confirmed officers from its major crime investigative support unit and the Curve Lake detachment shut down the business at 8:15 p.m. on Thursday, March 8.

Owner Tammy Banks, 44, has been charged with trafficking cannabis marijuana, possession of cannabis marijuana for the purpose of trafficking and three counts of possession of property obtained by crime.

Her son Joshua Banks, 26, faces charges of possession of cannabis marijuana for the purpose of trafficking and possession of property obtained by crime.

When the store opened in late February, Banks said she felt confident she was not violating any laws, even though legal marijuana sales are not scheduled to begin until July 1 this year.

“Technically, they (police) can and come and shut us down, but I’ve made sure the lines of communication were and are kept open,” she said at the time.

The timeline matches how long Peterborough’s Cannabis Culture store operated to long lineups before Peterborough police came in and raided it in September 2016.

At a Feb. 27 band council meeting, Curve Lake Chief Phyllis Williams reminded Banks the First Nation follows federal law and as it stands now, cannabis is illegal.

But Williams says her band council has little to no say over decision to operate, nor do any current or new business owners need permission when it comes to selling cannabis.

“We only ask if a business is interested, to have the courtesy of informing council of any potential and environmental impacts,” stated Williams in an email.

Four other First Nations — Alderville, Six Nations, Tyendinaga and Akwasasne — all have opened shops for the sale of cannabis and, according to the business owners, are using their treaty rights within their community, but some face backlash from reserve police.

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