Nation forced to shut down community services after cannabis shop raids

Friday, June 5th, 2020 10:40am


After raids on cannabis shops in Middlesex Centre, Ont. by the provincial police, the Oneida of the Thames First Nation has faced a backlash. Individuals associated with the illicit operations barged into the nation’s administration and political offices and threatened staff, reads a press statement from the Oneida Nation.

“Chief, council members, staff and guests... were asked in a physically intimidating manner to leave the workplace.”

The threatening behavior was prompted by reports from the OPP and in the media that the search warrants on the shops were executed at the request of the Nation.

Oneida Nation said in a press statement they did not call the OPP, “nor were we informed that the raids would be taking place.”

The Nation had previously asked these businesses to close for the health and safety of the community under its state of emergency due to COVID-19. 

“All other businesses located on the lands owned by Oneida, but are situated within the municipality of Middlesex Centre acted responsibly and closed,” reads the statement.

The businesses where the raids took place did not comply with the community requests to close, “increasing the threat of COVID-19 to enter our Nation, due to heavy traffic flow and increased exposure to non-community members.”

Administrative staff now will no longer be able to report to work due to the health and safety risk.

The impact on the community is that staff and program services will no longer be available “until we can ensure they have a safe environment.”