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New Indigenous-owned cannabis store opens in Stratford without licence

Organics Solutions in Stratford is a new shop that sells cannabis, but unlike others in the city, it’s operating without a license from the province.

The owner is Indigenous and said it is in within their Charter of Rights to operate the store on traditional land.

“The City of Stratford now acknowledges now that they're on traditional land,” said co-owner Kirk Marquette. “So under the Charter of Rights section, 25 and 35 – that allows an Indigenous person to open up a trading post.”

Organics Solutions is one of several hundred unlicensed stores in Canada.

The owner said it is about more than just selling cannabis.

Organics Solutions seen on July 14, 2023. (CTV News/Jeff Pickel)“What's unique is that I deal with people with a holistic approach. I'm just not looking to sell them the medicine. I'm looking at, why they want to use the medicine? And it might not be cannabis that they actually need,” said one of the other owners, Thomas Adam Jackson.

Jackson said it is about exercising his treaty rights and constitutional rights.

All of their products are Indigenous grown and lab tested before sale, according to the owners. But being unlicensed means they have fewer restraints on product and pricing.

“Our pricing is by far better than the OSC’s. Our product – from all my customers who come in and out – they all say it’s so much better,” said Marquette.

The owners of the store said they aren’t doing anything illegal but some of their competitors said what they are doing is unfair.

Some local cannabis retailers, who did not want to do an interview, told CTV News they feel it is an unfair advantage that the store can sell stronger products for a cheaper price.

The owners at Organic Solutions said they are not trying to undercut anyone.Organics Solutions in Stratford seen on July 14, 2023. (CTV News/Jeff Pickel)


Marquette said they got a visit from Stratford police early on but haven’t since.

In a statement, Stratford police said: “They recognize the complexities of the issue and want to ensure that all lawful rights are taken into consideration.”

Marquette said they don’t anticipate any more issues with the city or police.

“We are selling a legal product, were not harming anyone, I just hope more people come and shop here,” he said. Top Stories

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