Despite $10,000 raid, Tupa’s Joint owner won’t close store

Published on June 23, 2020 by oz. staff

The owner of a cannabis store operating without a provincial licence is refusing to shut down, despite a recent raid by Vernon RCMP.

Tupa’s Joint owner Cory Brewer posted about the experience on Facebook after police seized about $10,000 of cannabis products.

Brewer says he plans to continue to operate “the only sovereign shop” in Vernon city limits.

He says he won’t back down.

“We have told them that this is our right and we will not be told that we have to have a Provincial license to exercise our inherent rights,” he says in the post.

“Our products are our medicine and we will not be applying for a license to operate as a sovereign indigenous entity in our own traditional territory to serve below average products.”

Photos of some of the products sold at Tupa’s Joint are pictured on the store’s Facebook page:

Brewer, a member of the Okanagan Indian Band (OKIB), opened Tupa’s Joint on May 23. He owns three other cannabis stores on OKIB land and employs 20 staff (18 Indigenous).

According to an APTN’s story, the Vernon store has a letter of support from the Okanagan Indian Band: “This is a letter of support for Cory Brewer and his associates in establishing a business in the City of Vernon called Tupas Joint. The establishment is in the territory of the Syilx people and Cory and his team are exercising their creator given rights to operate business on this land.”

The letter is signed by Chief Byron Louis.

Moratorium passed by OKIB

In May 2019, the OKIB passed a moratorium on cannabis stores that don’t comply with The Cannabis Act.

Signed by five of 10 band councillors, the resolution prohibits establishing or commencing the operation of any cannabis dispensary on band land.

It comes with a caveat that says: “This resolution does not apply to the production and distribution of cannabis licensed by Health Canada under applicable law.”

The OKIB resolution was not signed by Louis.

Many stores, including All Nations Cannabis in Lake Country and Indigenous Bloom in the South Okanagan, operate openly without a provincial licence. Cannabis stores on Indigenous land have been a grey area in the new legal landscape