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Mississaugas of the Credit Medicine Wheel, an Indigenous-owned and operated cannabis store, is more than just a dispensary: it’s an attempt to fight back against “economic genocide,” its owner and operator said.

The store, operated by Ken Hughes of Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, is sovereign, meaning it’s operating outside of the scope of Ontario’s cannabis regulations and without a license — marking the first time a sovereign cannabis store has opened in Toronto.

While Medicine Wheel appears to be Toronto’s first, it isn’t the only sovereign cannabis dispensary in Canada. A map of similar stores compiled by the website Dispensing Freedom shows more than 250 sovereign shops operating coast-to-coast.

Since Danforth Avenue runs across an area of Mississaugas of the Credit territory, Hughes says members of the First Nation are entitled to self-governance on the land.

Medicine Wheel’s existence represents a move back to the First Nation’s homeland, Hughes said.

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