• First Nations in Quebec express their opinion regarding the legalization of cannabis
Oct 10, 2017

In April 2017, the federal government tabled Bill C-45 (An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts) to regulate the consumption, sale and possession of cannabis. The Government of Quebec took note of the Bill and initiated its reflection by launching a consultation and discussion process with the population in August 2017. This consultation will lead to the tabling of a framework bill in the fall of 2017.


In order to collect as many opinions as possible, Quebec consulted various groups namely made up of professionals, advocates, first-line workers, decision makers, government representatives, patients, citizens and employers.


The First Nations and the Inuit participated in a specific consultation day in Québec City on September 29, 2017. To prepare for this, the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador coordinated a “day of reflection” with the Chiefs on September 19. The discussions allowed the Chiefs to:


  • Rally and agree to common guidelines;
  • Better understand the legal, social, economic, cultural and educational aspects of legalizing cannabis;
  • Encourage exchange and discussion;
  • Make recommendations.


    Concerns raised included:  

  • The importance of protecting youth from the harms associated with cannabis;
  • The need to raise awareness with the population and intervenors regarding the effects of the consumption of cannabis on health and the impacts underlying its legalization;
  • The importance of providing tools to staff members who work with children and youth;
  • The interest of a legal, controlled market;
  • The self-government of First Nations in Quebec;
  • The obligation of the federal and provincial governments to consult First Nations during all stages of this process.


Parallel to this, from September 8 to 20, 2017, a survey was posted online to gather the opinions of First Nations and the Inuit on different aspects of the legalization and regulation of cannabis.


The main findings resulting from the day of reflection, along with the results of the online survey, were used to prepare a series of recommendations included in a brief intended for the federal and provincial governments. On September 29, 2017, the AFNQL tabled the brief reflecting the specificities that distinguish First Nations and the Inuit with Ministers Charlebois and Kelley.