Nations Cannabis and the Association of Canadian Cannabis Retailers have formalized their alliance with the signing of a memorandum of understanding. (Photo submitted)

Northern Indigenous cannabis cultivation facility to supply over 60 private B.C. stores

Construction to soon resume on Nations Cannabis in Burns Lake

An emerging Indigenous cannabis cultivation company in Burns Lake will be supplying its product to 65 private B.C. retail stores, marking one of the first partnerships of its kind in the province.

Nations Cannabis announced it has signed a memorandum of understanding with 26 members of the Association of Canadian Cannabis Retailers (ACCRES), according to a joint news release issued Wednesday (July 15).

“It’s exciting that ACCRES wanted to work with us,” said company founder and executive chairman Wesley Sam, noting they are unaware of any such agreement involving other Indigenous cannabis companies.

READ MORE: Growing with the sun: Cannabis companies look to outdoor cultivation

“It’s a great opportunity to have products shipped direct to store front.”

ACCRES interim president Matthew Greenwood said he believes Nations Cannabis will become the premier and earliest Indigenous cannabis producer in B.C.

“They have a product that will allow our retailers to differentiate themselves from others in the marketplace,” Greenwood said in a statement.

“Furthermore, partnering with a company that gives an authentic voice to Indigenous peoples is an important aspect of this collaboration and will be exciting for consumers.”

READ MORE: B.C. Interior First Nation eyes own cannabis operation for economic, medicinal benefit

Construction on the facility is nearly 70 per cent completed and located about five minutes outside of the city at the former Burns Lake Specialty Wood building, formerly owned by the Burns Lake Native Development Corporation.

Sam said they hope to resume work within the month, after being interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have about three months of construction left, and then hopefully final approval from the federal government,” he said. “Once the facility is completed Health Canada will come in and inspect and give us the okay to grow two crops and a license.”

The indoor facility is anticipated to produce six tonnes of cannabis annually in phase one through its five grow rooms, which will each have three tiers and 2,000 square feet of space.

READ MORE: Cannabis retailers call for change in B.C.’s legal sales regime

It is supported by the Burns Lake Native Development Corporation which is co-owned by six local First Nations including Ts’il Kaz Koh First Nation (Burns Lake Band), Lake Babine Nation, Skin Tyee Band, Cheslatta Carrier Nation, Nee Tahi Buhn Band and Wet’suwet’en First Nation.

“As investors in the Nations’ project, we believe that the agreement with ACCRES represents real Indigenous economic reconciliation and participation in the cannabis industry,” noted Chief Dan George, of the Burns Lake Band (Ts’il Kaz Koh First Nation).

The band provided $1.5 million to support the development of the facility.

READ MORE: Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

The projected value of the agreement is $28 million in the first year, and $96 million by year three.

Before pursuing the cannabis industry, Sam was a former Band Councillor and Chief of Ts’il Kaz Koh First Nation for nearly two decades.

He said the facility will provide up to 60 jobs in phase one – a much-needed economic boost due to adverse impacts by the pine beetle outbreak and downturn in forestry.

“We hope to expand like any other cannabis company as the years go on. We could either do an expansion on that property and or other facilities throughout B.C.”


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
rebecca.dyok@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BusinesscannabisFirst Nations

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

$80 million gas pipeline upgrade project proposed by PNG

Gas pipeline upgrades needed from Salvus to Port Edward near Prince Rupert

Brucejack mine fatality identified

Patrick Critch was from Newfoundland

Pretivm Resources reports fatality at Brucejack mine

The isolated incident occurred last Friday, and the employee passed away on Sunday in hospital

Skeena Diversity Society in Terrace receives funding

An online survey will inform the society on how to best spend the money

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

Airlines dispute Dr. Henry’s claim they ‘very rarely’ give accurate COVID contact tracing info

Air Canada, WestJet say they provide names and contact information

Airborne hot dog strikes Greater Victoria pedestrian

Police called to 4200-block of Quadra Street for hot dog incident

B.C. scientist, 63, protests in trees set to be removed for Trans Mountain pipeline

Tim Takaro is reaching new heights as he tries to stall the pipeline expansion project in New Westminster

Dwindling B.C. bamboo supply leaves Calgary Zoo biologists worried about pandas

Zoo has been trying to send pandas back to China since May

Dinosaurs revived for animatronic auction in Langley

More than 500 robot dinosaurs, fossils, and exhibition gear are going on the block Aug. 6

B.C. paramedics responded to a record-breaking 2,700 overdose calls in July

Province pledges $10.5 million for expansion of overdose prevention response

Canada signs deals with Pfizer, Moderna to get doses of COVID-19 vaccines

Earlier in July both Pfizer and Moderna reported positive results from smaller trials

Canucks tame Minnesota Wild 4-3 to even NHL qualifying series

J.T. Miller leads Vancouver with goal and an assist

Cyclist in hospital after being hit by load of lumber hanging from truck on B.C. highway

A man is in hospital with broken ribs, punctured lung and a broken clavicle and scapula

Most Read