Metlakatla gets government grant to explore cannabis business

Lax Kw’alaams, Metlakatla and the Central Coast Regional District receive $10,000 each from province

Metlakatla is exploring a business case for cannabis and the province is going to help them do it.

The B.C. government announced on Feb. 27 that it’s giving $30,000 to three northwest First Nations communities to help them stabilize their economies and create long-term employment — and cannabis may be the golden ticket.

Lax Kw’alaams Business Development, Metlakatla Development Corporation and the Central Coast Regional District will each receive a $10,000 grant to help fund local development projects.

Metlakatla Development Corporation will use the grant for preliminary investigations into the feasibility of producing and providing cannabis to the market.

“Over the coming months, the development corporation will look into the market for the product, the costs associated with developing a production facility and the potential for partners that would allow this idea to come to life. Although this is a very preliminary step, the Metlakatla Development Corporation recognizes that there is a tremendous opportunity in the production and distribution of licensed cannabis as the federal government moves toward regulation and legalization of the product,” said Shaun Thomas, communications manager for Metlakatla Development Corporation, in an email.

READ MORE: Community greenhouse encourages green thumbs in Melakatla

While Metlakatla dips into the marijuana industry, Lax Kw’alaams Business Development will use the grant to complete a feasibility plan for the Lax Kw’alaams Coastal Trail, which connects to the Metlakatla Wilderness Trail — a trail that has been closed since 2015.

The Central Coast Regional District will use the grant money to explore the benefits of improved digital connectivity, particularly with regard to emergency preparedness.

“This funding will help bolster the economies in these remote communities and improve safety for citizens when it comes to emergency preparedness,” said Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and MLA for the North Coast.

READ MORE: Metlakatla Wilderness Trail nearing 500 visitor mark

“Congratulations to everyone involved,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “The selected projects reflect the strength of rural communities — people working together for the good of the community.”

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