Category Archives: Meetings and Events

National Indigenous Medical Cannabis Association is launched


By Tom Keefer

TYENDINAGA MOHAWK TERRITORY – On Saturday, March 25th, over 30 Indigenous people gathered in Tyendinaga to formally launch a national Indigenous organization to promote and defend the Indigenous relationship to the cannabis plant.

Named NIMCA – the National Indigenous Medical Cannabis Association – the association is aiming to have branches in every province in Canada. Saturday’s meeting was a followup to an initial meeting held in Tyendinaga on January 28th, 2017.

At the meeting an interim National Executive was selected and sworn in. The national organization is comprised of representatives from each province and a President, Secretary and Treasurer. The composition of the National Executive is as follows: Tim Barnhart (Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory), President; Kevin Daniels (Gordon First Nation), Vice-President; Lynda Laween (Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory), Treasurer; Andrew Bainsbridge, Manitoba representative;  Antoinette Cruz, British Columbia representative; Kim Dessarlais, Saskatchewan representative; Brian Marquis (Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory), Ontario representative; Alvin Manitopyes, Alberta representative; Dave Moss, Yukon representative; Clifton Nicholas (Kanehsatake), Quebec representative.

The terms of office of all national executive members is for 5 years, at which point a new executive will be elected by the membership.

The various provincial organizations may have smaller regional boards, and are affiliated to the larger national whole. Ontario is currently the only province to have a fully formed board. Its board met after the national meeting and agreed to affiliate to the national organization. The members of the Ontario board are: Brian Marquis (Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory), President; Rob Stevenson, Vice-President (Alderville First Nation); Wendy Phillips (Wasauksing First Nation) Secretary/Treasurer, and board members Jordan Brant (Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory), Neecha Duplais (Ojibway Nation of Saugeen), Jamie Simon, and Kevin Shaganash (Constance Lake First Nation).

The Ontario organization is now involved in a membership drive. Individual memberships cost $25. Both the national and the provincial organization will be headquartered at 346 York Rd, in Tyendinaga at the New Legacy 420 building. The national executive will be meeting quarterly.

Agenda for January 28th 2017 IMCA Meeting in Tyendinaga


A PDF version of the Agenda is available for download here.

Welcome to the founding meeting of the Indigenous Medical Cannabis Association

Held on Saturday, January 28th, 10am – 4pm,

Mohawk Community Centre, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory


  1. Opening
  2. Welcome and introductions
  3. Purpose of the meeting
  4. Educational
  5. Lunch break
  6. Community engagement
  7. Continuation
    1. Proposed date of next IMCA meeting:
      Saturday, March 25, 2017 in Tyendinaga starting at 10am.
    2. Volunteers for working on follow up issues.
  8. Closing

Purpose of the January 28th, 2017 IMCA Meeting

  • To begin a discussion among indigenous people involved in the medical cannabis industry about their common interests and issues;
  • To discuss how the growth of a hemp/cannabis industry could address the economic, social and political interests of indigenous people more broadly.
  • To determine if there is enough interest to create an Indigenous Medical Cannabis Association for the purposes of achieving the draft mission statement (see page 3) and if so;
  • To begin discussions about what form that Association should take, how it should govern and structure itself, and how it should relate to traditional indigenous governance.



Background media coverage on Indigenous Medical Cannabis

For a listing of articles, video and audio about the IMCA and Indigneous Medical Cannabis please go to or
About the Facilitator – Wendy Philips Ahwidokazit Bezhagobe

The facilitator for today’s meeting is Wendy Philips Ahwidokazit (One Who Helps), Bezhagobe (One Who Stands Alone). Wendy belongs to the Bald Eagle Clan. She is Ojibwa and Potawatami from Wasauksing First Nation in the heart of the Muskokas. For the last 30 years, Wendy has acted as a Ceremonial Leader, Indigenous Spiritual Educator, and Traditional Indigenous Healer in her spiritual role of Ahnikgokon, meaning one who works for the spirits.

Wendy has been fortunate to have been taught by her family’s traditional Elders with ancestral knowledge that has been passed from one generation to the next. Wendy’s family lineage is responsible for keeping traditional Indigenous knowledge including creation stories, calendars, prophecies, leadership, clan, traditional governance, women, men, relationship, marriage, rites of passage and medicine wheel teachings.

She is an alumnus of Trent University Indigenous Studies (Hons) and Business Administration (Minor). She is a graduate of the Fleming College with a Diploma in Career and Work Counselling and she is also a Masters Candidate from York University with a focus on Traditional Anishinaabe Governance.

Over the last 25 years she has been a Social/Cultural Enterprise Innovator and Cultural Entrepreneur within small and large Urban Indigenous ecosystems and an advocate for Indigenous issues at a regional, provincial and national level. As a professor, she is passionate about teaching and supporting students at Loyalist College within the Entrepreneurial Studies – Business Launch Program.

The following is proposed text for the mission statement of the IMCA.

The Indigenous Medical Cannabis Association (IMCA) shall:

  1. Advocate for the interests of Indigenous people involved in the medical cannabis industry on and off reserve throughout Turtle Island.
  2. Encourage the self-regulation of the Indigenous Medical Cannabis Industry through the application of Indigenous political and economic principles that will: uphold Indigenous self determination, protect minors, combat addiction, keep out organized crime, provide for quality control and safe handling and consistency of the product, educate consumers, regulate prices, ensure fair standards of wages and benefits to workers, and otherwise promote public health and social well being.
  3. Develop and share public policy positions that advance the interests of IMCA members and the indigenous communities they are a part of in light of the changing policies being adopted by various US and Canadian governmental entities concerning the regulation of various forms of medical and recreational Cannabis consumption.
  4. Advocate and promote the rights of Indigenous people to access medical cannabis and to build an “above ground” self regulated industry to produce, transport and sell medical cannabis by means of workshops, publications, advertisements, and public relations campaigns.
  5. Encourage the diversification of the medical cannabis industry into a broader “green economy” using cannabis byproducts to produce building materials, paper, clothing, health foods, etc. in such a manner to bring prosperity and economic benefit to indigenous communities.
  6. Defend and build political and legal support for members of the IMCA who face criminalization or state sanctioned targeting for participating in the Indigenous medical cannabis industry.
  7. Cooperate with other organizations and social movements to put pressure on governments and corporations to respect the interests of indigenous people and the rights of the indigenous economy.
  8. Support the traditional [i.e. non-colonial] governance of Indigenous peoples on their home territories. The IMCA shall not claim to speak on behalf of or to negotiate on behalf of any specific Indigenous nation or peoples, and shall respectfully engage with and support traditional indigenous governance.
  9. Pool resources to return a portion of profits made in the Indigenous Medical Cannabis industry into social and cultural programs that strengthen and support indigenous identity and values.

Proposed Draft Constitution for the IMCA

(This is a draft which was created to begin the discussion of how the IMCA could operate. It is open to change and redrafting, and is presented here for discussion and suggestion, with ratification possible at the March 25th, 2017 meeting of the IMCA.)

    1. Membership
      1. The Indigenous Medical Cannabis Association (IMCA) is an organization comprised of Indigenous people involved in the growing, processing, distribution and retailing of the cannabis plant for medical purposes.
      2. We define the term Indigenous as meaning people of Native North American descent who personally identify as Indigenous and who belong to an Indigenous community that claims them as such.
      3. Any indigenous person who has an involvement in the Indigenous Medical Cannabis industry, who supports the IMCA statement of principles, agrees to follow the bylaws of the IMCA, and who pays the yearly $100 IMCA membership fee will be accepted as a member of the association.
    2. Membership Groups
      1. Members of the IMCA are placed into one of three bodies based upon their involvement in the medical cannabis industry. The three groups are: growers (anyone involved in any stage of the production and harvesting of cannabis) retailers (anyone involved in sale of the product to its end user) and transport and administration (anyone involved in physically moving the product or in administration of the industry). Members that do not clearly fall into one of these three categories will be assigned a category of membership by the executive upon joining.
    3. The General Assembly meeting
      1. The highest decision making body of the IMCA is its General Assembly, which is a meeting of all members.
      2. General Assembly meetings of the IMCA occur quarterly, on the Saturday morning following the winter and summer solstice, and the Saturday morning following the spring and fall equinox.
      3. Meetings shall begin at 9am on Saturday morning.
      4. After welcoming and introductions, the General Assembly shall divide into its three component parts (growers, retailers, and transport and administration).
      5. Each group will meet together to discuss its concerns and issues.
      6. Once it has met and discussed within its group, each group will pick spokespeople to reflect the general positions and perspectives held by each of the three groups.
    4. Passing of resolutions
      1. Business is advanced by one of the three sides coming to an internal agreement to make a specific resolution – such as: “the IMCA should pass such and such a resolution or carry out such and such an action” – and passing it across to one of the other groups to have them discuss. That group seeks to arrive at consensus to either reject, accept or modify the proposal and lets the group which proposed the initiative know whether they accept, reject or have modified the proposal.
      2. Once both the first and the second group have come to agreement, the originating group shall pass on the motion to the third group which may either ratify the decision, or send it back to the other two with modifications.
      3. If the same matter is passed back and forth on three separate occasions and no consensus is reached, then the matter shall be deemed closed and shall not be discussed again.
      4. Motions that are ratified by all three groups, are written down and recorded as official decisions of the IMCA and shall be published on the IMCA’s website.
    5. Executive committee. After its constitution is approved, the IMCA as a whole shall choose an executive committee made up of a spokesperson, a treasurer, a secretary as well as two representatives from each membership group.
      1. The terms of the executive members last for a one year period.
      2. The positions of spokesperson, treasurer and secretary, shall each be filled from a different membership group. In addition, a further two representatives from each side will be chosen to join the executive, making for a total of nine (9) executive members.
      3. The role of the executive is to run the affairs of the association in between IMCA quarterly meetings.
      4. The spokesperson speaks on behalf of the association publicly and is responsible for external communications.
      5. The treasurer handles the group’s finances.
      6. The secretary is responsible for keeping minutes of executive and general assembly meetings and handling internal communications amongst the membership.
      7. The other six executive members may assist the spokesperson, treasurer and secretary as necessary or be assigned to other areas of responsibility.
      8. Executive members are recallable by the members of the group that placed them on the executive. They may be removed from their position and replaced by the group that chose them at any of the quarterly meetings of the IMCA.
      9. The executive committee shall produce a proposed agenda, and provide a written report of the executive’s activities on behalf of the IMCA no less that two weeks before each quarterly meeting.
      10. The executive is collectively responsible for organizing the quarterly general assembly meetings and communicating the decisions made to the membership.


  • Modification of bylaws and statement of principles


    1. The bylaws and statement of principles of the IMCA may be modified with the agreement of the three bodies of the IMCA as long as the notice of such change is provided to the membership with two weeks notice before the quarterly meeting.

Questions for small group discussion

  • What changes would you suggest to improve the IMCA mission statement?
  • What steps can be taken to ensure that the indigenous medical cannabis industry helps and does not harm indigenous peoples or our non-native neighbours?
  • What should the territorial scope of the IMCA be? (i.e. all of Turtle Island, Iroquoia, Canada wide, etc?)
  • What relationship should the IMCA have with traditional indigenous governance bodies (longhouses, clan families, nations and confederacies, etc.) and the broader indigenous community?
  • How should financial contributions from the IMCA / Indigenous Medical Cannabis industry be returned to indigenous people and communities in need of financial support?
  • How could the IMCA encourage economic diversification into the broader “green economy” using cannabis byproducts to produce building materials, paper, clothing, health foods, etc?
  • How should the IMCA handle quality control and safe handling and consistency of the product?


IMCA Registration information

To be added to the IMCA email list and to receive information about upcoming meetings and events, please fill out the form below and give to the meeting facilitator (Wendy Philips).

Name __________________________ Phone # ______________________

Community __________________________ Email ______________________

Involvement in the industry (circle one): Grower | Retailer | Transport and Admin | Other

Skills you can contribute ___________________________________________________

Any other comments or information you would like to provide: