A 3rd annual Indigenous Cannabis Cup, unlike any other

Published Sep 22, 2020 11:00 a.m. ET
iStock / David Tran

Cannabis and Indigenous people have strong footage in the Tyendinaga, Mohawk Territory, and for the past three years, the proud people of Tyendinaga have celebrated cannabis events. These events culminate in the annual Indigenous Cannabis Cup. So, what happened this year to make the cannabis events this weekend, unlike any other year?

The cannabis festival usually draws a large group of supporters to the territory. Participants come to sample the different cannabis products that are available and to enjoy the entertainment. There was some concern expressed by the Tyendinaga Mohawk Police, who had been asked to supervise anyone who is entering the territory and seeking entrance into the annual Indigenous Cannabis Cup event.

Emergency detours were put in place for reasons described by the OPP as a community event, as the ongoing pandemic that the world is experiencing has prompted the Mohawk of the Bay of Quinte Band Council to pass resolutions that say it does not support the event. Furthermore, it was decided that anyone involved in the Cannabis Cup could be removed by law enforcement officers.

There was no official word that the 3rd Indigenous Cannabis Cup was to be cancelled. However, various social media posts indicated organizers would follow strict guidelines to ensure the public had a safe and healthy time at the event. The organizers had taken steps to cut down on the crowds by splitting the cannabis cup event into two time slots so that there could be scheduled cleaning breaks initiated between the cannabis events.


The organizers of the Indigenous Cannabis Cup had posted these strict guidelines to help to protect themselves and anyone who visited. Some of those guidelines include:

  • Permitting only 100 guests at any given time within the event grounds
  • The event is hosted at an outdoor venue
  • There will be no over-nite camping this year
  • Posters will be displayed for all to see and follow

The safety steps noted in by signs will include:

  • Hands should be cleaned often
  • Close contact should be avoided
  • Sneezes and coughs to be covered
  • If you are not able to social distance, masks or face-covering must be implemented
  • Disinfect and clean all areas you touch or use

Wash stations and porta-potties were provided for everyone. Hand sanitizers were also available this year, as well as masks. Respect and safety were paramount in the eyes of the organizers, especially this year.

Final thoughts

The 3rd Indigenous Cannabis Cup is an event that many were looking forward to, some attended, and some, for community health and safety reasons, choose not to attend.  However, the world-wide pandemic has caused many things in our lives to change. The 3rd Indigenous Cannabis Cup is among those things. According to some people, choosing to go against the Band's wishes may not have been the best decision. Cannabis will be here for us to discover, enjoy, and appreciate for many years to come.

One may ask the question, will the community members still be here if COVID-19 sneaks into their lives from non-members? One year is not a life sentence, but COVID-19 can be.

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