Marijuana shops in Massena frustrate village’s mayor

Published: Apr. 24, 2023 at 4:42 PM EDT
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MASSENA, New York (WWNY) - Shops, where you can buy marijuana, have opened within Massena’s Square Mile, land in the town and village of Massena claimed to be sovereign and part of the Akwesasne Nation.

Massena Village Mayor Greg Paquin says he’s frustrated about three cannabis dispensaries within that area.

Two stores, Famous A’s and THC Remedies, are within village limits. But according to Paquin, they are unlicensed and have not followed proper guidelines.

“What bothers me is this: how can we as a community ask businesses to follow certain guidelines? How can we ask them to follow our codes? How can we ask them to make sure their permits, their licenses,” he said.

Both Famous A’s and THC Remedies are owned and operated by owners within the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation with both shops located within the Massena Square Mile, a section of land in dispute. A federal court ruled last year the Hogansburg Triangle in Franklin County was Tribal land, and tribe leaders believe that decision should also apply to Massena’s Square Mile.

7 News reached out to the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe Cannabis Control Board about the unlicensed shops in Massena and they emailed a statement saying, in part, “At this time, the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe’s Cannabis Control Board has not issued cannabis licenses in Massena, and has no further comment concerning the non-tribally licensed retailers.”

The fact that the businesses are not licensed through the St. Regis Cannabis Control Board or through the New York Office of Cannabis Management concerns Paquin.

“That falls on the state and it falls on the unwillingness of the Office of Cannabis Management to come up here and do their job and they’re not doing their job and that’s a disservice to every taxpayer here in this village and this town and this state,” he said. Paquin adds he could have local police take up the matter but is looking at all of his options.

We talked with workers within the cannabis shops in the village of Massena and they claim that while they do not have licenses from either New York State or the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, they did claim they have licenses through the Indian Way Longhouse, a different regulatory body within the Akwesasne Nation.