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It’s business as usual for this Mohawk First Nation’s marijuana stores while court challenges planned




In one of the production rooms of Legacy 420, the first marijuana retail outlet to open in the Mohawk community of Tyendinaga, Seaira Maracle, 28, brews a cannabis ointment based on a traditional recipe for arthritis.

She scoops the substance from a stainless steel double-boiler and pours it into glass jars.

« I learned it from my Elders, from my grandfathers, » said Maracle, whose job title is alchemist.

The Legacy 420 facility also includes a kitchen and a laboratory where everyone wears white lab coats and features a massive glass contraptions for extracting oil from cannabis.

And, like more than 31 marijuana stores operating throughout this community, which sits about 200 km east of Toronto, it will keep its doors open, selling the ointment along with more than 60 cannabis products, after the new federal and provincial laws come into force Wednesday.

Jason Brant is the chief of the Tyendinaga Mohawk Police. (CBC)

Tyendinaga Mohawk Police Chief Jason Brant said his officers won’t be moving on any of the cannabis stores.

« We are still looking for direction from the legislative body here on the territory, » said Brant.

Brant said his force’s resources are limited, putting any thought of a cannabis enforcement operation out of the question for now in a territory that bristles at the presence of the Ontario Provincial Police.

The Tyendinaga police have a total of seven officers and one works per shift, he said.

« To do something of this magnitude — we can’t do it with this many people, if in fact we were going to do it at all, » said Brant.

Ontario delay presents opportunity

For Tim Barnhart, owner of Legacy 420, Ontario’s decision to delay licensing private cannabis shops until April 2019 presents a lucrative opportunity for business in Tyendinaga.

« We are not fools, we see a trend and a lucrative market we can utilize for the next six to 12 months, » he said.

« We are going to take that. »

Barnhart employs about 43 people with a payroll of $3.7 million. He said his operations generate about $20 million in revenue a year.

Tim Barnhart, owner of Legacy 420, plans to keep operating after Oct. 17. (CBC)

Barnhart said that his operation meets all the aims of the federal law, including age restrictions, product quality control, a closed production and retail loop to keep out organized crime along with a high level of security.

If his compound, which is ringed by metal fencing topped with barbed-wire, is ever raided, he plans to open up the next day and launch a constitutional challenge.

« We have been assured by lawyers that we are constitutionally sound, » said Barnhart.

Constitutional challenge planned

Seth LeFort, a Tyendinaga member who was charged with trafficking last November after police in Six Nations, Ont., raided his dispensary there, said he is planning a constitutional challenge to Canada’s new pot law as part of his case.

An officer from the Six Nations police aims an assault rifle during a Nov. 16, 2017, raid of the Mohawk Medicine herbal dispensary in Six Nations. (Submitted by Seth LeFort)

LeFort said he would have faced a fine in the thousands of dollars on a guilty plea, but he chose to launch the constitutional challenge as a matter of principle.

« The issue I am raising is we have an inherent right as Onkwehón:we [the people] to make medicine and to have an economy, » said LeFort.

« We have a right to add new technology and knowledge to our medicine chest. »

LeFort said he believes the new cannabis law will be a back door to charge tax on reserve through arrangements between the provinces and First Nations that want to cash in on the business.

Tyendinaga is 200 km east of Toronto, near Kingston, Ont. (Google)

« This cannabis thing is a smokescreen for the real issue, which is our land and taxation, » he said.

LeFort said his Brantford, Ont., trial is scheduled for next February and the filing deadline for his constitutional challenge legal arguments is set for Nov. 2.

Ontario laws may be open to challenge

Sara Mainville, a partner with Toronto law firm Olthuis Kleer Townshend, said a court challenge of the federal law may prove futile.

Mainville said there were parallels between the new pot law and the legalization of gambling by Ottawa in the 1970s which delegated regulatory authority to the provinces.

A 1996 Supreme Court ruling involving two Ontario First Nations seeking to self-regulate gaming concluded there was no general self-governing right in Section 35 of the Constitution, which enshrined Aboriginal and treaty rights. Mainville said the court determined a First Nation needed to prove that the specific activity was regulated in some form before contact and in continuity to the present day.

Mainville believes Ontario’s laws may be open to a challenge because the province gave itself the exclusive right to be the wholesaler and regulator of the cannabis industry.

« I think the province is overreaching, » she said.

« It is my strong belief that provincial governments have to work with First Nations to figure out how laws could work because First Nations hold the governing authority. »

Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte Chief Donald Maracle speaks with community members after a cannabis meeting Monday evening. (CBC)

Community works on its own rules

Tyendinaga’s government, the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte band council, held a community meeting Monday evening to discuss the need to pass an interim cannabis law to prevent Ontario’s rules from applying on Wednesday.

Coun. Josh Hill said passing an interim band law was the best way to protect the territory until community consultations produce a final version. He said the leadership met with Ontario officials last Friday and were told the province would not be taking any drastic measures against the community for now.

« It’s in everyone’s best interest to try to find a solution to this by talking, » said Hill.

Jamie Kunkel, the owner of Smoke Signals dispensary, said he’s willing to hold his nose and work with a band developed regulatory regime if it means keeping local control of the industry.

« If it’s reasonable…then I’ll probably license it, » said Kunkel, who has franchised out into other First Nations.

Some community members at the meeting expressed frustration with the amount of traffic and disturbances in the community — including three cases of suspected arson — they see as connected to the cannabis industry.

Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte Band councillor Josh Hill says talks are ongoing with Ontario over marijuana. (CBC)

The police said there is no evidence the three incidents have anything directly to do with the cannabis business and suggested the increased traffic may also be due to lower gas prices on the reserve.

Tammy Brant, 49, voiced her concerns during the community meeting. One of her two sons has worked at a cannabis store, but she doesn’t see it as a viable career goal. While the pay, in cash, is often good, there are no benefits that come with employment like disability or employment insurance, she said.

Brant said the industry has expanded with little regard for community impact.

« We haven’t been respected as a people at this point, as a community, » said Brant, in an interview.

« Just those who are specifically benefiting from it right here, right now. »


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Nostalgia and much more with Starburst XXXtreme




Get a taste of adventure with Starburst XXXtreme based on the legendary NetEnt Game. The nostalgic themes are sure to capture fans of the classic version as they get treated to higher intensity, better visuals, and features. The most significant element of the game is its volatility. Patience will not be an essential virtue considering the insane gameplay, and there is a lot of win potential involved. It retains the original makeup of the previous game while adding a healthy dose of adrenaline. 

Starburst Visuals and Symbols

The game is definitely more conspicuous than before. The setting happens over a 5-reel, 3-row game grid with nine fixed win lines, which function if a succession from the left to the right reel is present. Only those players that that attain the highest win per bet line are paid. From a visual standpoint, the Starburst XXXtreme slots illustrates lightning effects behind the reels, which is not surprising as it is inherited from the original version. Available themes include Classic, Jewels, and Space. The game is also available in both desktop and mobile versions, which is advantageous for players considering the global pandemic. According to Techguide, American gamers are increasingly having more engaging gaming experiences to socialize to fill the gap of in-person interaction. Starburst XXXtreme allows them to fill the social void at a time when there is so much time to be had indoors. 

Starburst XXXTreme Features

Players get to alternate on three features which are Starburst Wilds, XXXtreme Spins, and Random Wilds. The first appears on reels 2,3, or 4. When these land, they expand to cover all positions while also calculating the wins. They are also locked for a respin. If a new one hits, it also becomes locked while awarding another respin. Starburst XXXtreme offers a choice between two scenarios for a higher stake. In one scenario with a ten times stake, the Starburst Wild is set on random on reels 2,3, or 4, and a multiplier starts the respin. The second scenario, which has a 95 times stake, starts with two guaranteed starburst wilds on reels 2,3, or 4. it also plays out using respin game sequence and features. The game also increases the potential with the Random Wilds feature to add Starburst Wilds to a vacant reel at the end of a spin. Every Starburst Wild gives a random multiplier with potential wins of x2, x3, x5, x10, x25, x50, x100, or even x150.

The new feature is sure to be a big hit with the gaming market as online gambling has shown significant growth during the lockdown. AdAge indicates the current casino customer base is an estimated one in five Americans, so Starburst XXXtreme’s additional features will achieve considerable popularity. 

What We Think About The Game

The gambling market has continued to diversify post-pandemic, so it is one of the most opportune times to release an online casino-based game. Thankfully Starburst XXXtreme features eye-catching visuals, including the jewels and space themes. These attract audience participation and make the gameplay inviting. The game also has a nostalgic edge. The previous NetEnt iteration featured similar visuals and gameplay, so the audience has some familiarity with it. The producers have revamped this version by tweaking the features to improve the volatility and engagement. 

That is characterized by the potential win cap of 200,000 times the bet. Starburst XXXtreme does not just give betting alternatives for players that want to go big. The increase of multipliers also provides a great experience. If the respins in the previous version were great, knowing that multipliers can go hundreds of times overtakes the game to a new level. 

Players should get excited about this offering. All of the features can be triggered within a single spin. Whether one plays the standard game or takes the XXXtreme spin route, it is possible to activate all of the features. Of course, the potential 200,000 times potential is a huge carrot. However, the bet size is probably going to be restricted and vary depending on the casino. It is also worth pointing out that a malfunction during the gameplay will void all of the payouts and progress. Overall, the game itself has been designed to provide a capped win of 200,000 times the original bet. 

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‘We’re back’: Montreal festival promoters happy to return but looking to next year




In downtown Montreal, it’s festival season.

In the city’s entertainment district, a musical act was conducting a sound check on stage Friday evening — the second day of the French-language version of the renowned Just For Laughs comedy festival. Tickets for many of the festival’s free outdoor shows — limited by COVID-19 regulations — were sold out.

Two blocks away, more than 100 people were watching an acoustic performance by the Isaac Neto Trio — part of the last weekend of the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique, a celebration of music from the African continent and the African diaspora.

With COVID-19 restrictions continuing to limit capacity, festival organizers say they’re glad to be back but looking forward to next year when they hope border restrictions and capacity limits won’t affect their plans.

Charles Décarie, Just For Laughs’ CEO and president, said this is a “transition year.”

“Even though we have major constraints from the public health group in Montreal, we’ve managed to design a festival that can navigate through those constraints,” Décarie said.

The French-language Juste pour rire festival began on July 15 and is followed by the English-language festival until July 31.

When planning began in February and March, Décarie said, organizers came up with a variety of scenarios for different crowd sizes, ranging from no spectators to 50 per cent of usual capacity.

“You’ve got to build scenarios,” he said. “You do have to plan a little bit more than usual because you have to have alternatives.”

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MELS new major movie studio to be built in Montreal




MONTREAL — MELS Studios will build a new film studio in Montreal, filling some of the gap in supply to meet the demand of Hollywood productions.

MELS president Martin Carrier said on Friday that MELS 4 studio construction will begin « as soon as possible », either in the fall or winter of next year. The studio could host productions as early as spring 2023.

The total investment for the project is $76 million, with the Quebec government contributing a $25 million loan. The project will create 110 jobs, according to the company.

The TVA Group subsidiary’s project will enable it to stand out « even more » internationally, according to Quebecor president and CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau. In the past, MELS Studios has hosted several major productions, including chapters of the X-Men franchise. The next Transformers movie is shooting this summer in Montreal.

Péladeau insisted that local cultural productions would also benefit from the new facility, adding that the studio ensures foreign revenues and to showcase talent and maintain an industry of Quebec producers.


The film industry is cramped in Montreal.

According to a report published last May by the Bureau du cinéma et de la télévision du Québec (BCTQ), there is a shortage of nearly 400,000 square feet of studio space.

With the addition of MELS 4, which will be 160,000 square feet, the company is filling part of the gap.

Carrier admitted that he has had to turn down contracts because of the lack of space, representing missed opportunities of « tens of millions of dollars, not only for MELS, but also for the Quebec economy. »

« Montreal’s expertise is in high demand, » said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, who was present at the announcement.

She said she received great testimonials from « Netflix, Disney, HBO and company » during an economic mission to Los Angeles in 2019.

« What stands out is that they love Montreal because of its expertise, knowledge and beauty. We need more space, like MELS 4, » she said.

There is still not enough capacity in Quebec, acknowledged Minister of Finance, the Economy and Innovation Eric Girard.

« It is certain that the government is concerned about fairness and balance, so if other requests come in, we will study them with the same seriousness as we have studied this one, » he said.

Grandé Studios is the second-largest player in the industry. Last May, the company said it had expansion plans that should begin in 2022. Investissement Québec and Bell are minority shareholders in the company.

For its part, MELS will have 400,000 square feet of production space once MELS 4 is completed. The company employs 450 people in Quebec and offers a range of services including studio and equipment rentals, image and sound postproduction, visual effects and a virtual production platform.

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