New Brunswick cannabis producer partners with local First Nation for medical cannabis access

A New Brunswick cannabis producer, E.C.O. Canadian Organics, along with the University of New Brunswick, GITPO Spirit Lodge, and Natoaganeg First Nation announced today a partnership to provide access to medical cannabis for First Nations struggling with substance, opioid addiction and methadone dependence.

The GIPTO Spirit Lodge, the creation of AFN Regional Chief Roger Augustine, bills itself as a national men’s wellness facility with locations serving the Atlantic, Western and Pacific regions. The Natoaganeg First Nation, also known as Eel Ground First Nation is a Mi’kmaq community with a population of approximately 900 members about 90 minutes north of Moncton. 

“We are so pleased that an essential joint effort is underway to enhance the wellness of the Natoaganeg First Nation People,” says Augustine. “This important initiative will help those who are addicted to opioids become well again through the use of therapeutic cannabinoids and spiritual wellness.”

Augustine says the Memo of Understanding, announced today, will lead to a monumental change for First Nation People in Canada. The project will be overseen by UNB, with medical cannabis supplied by E.C.O. Canadian Organic in Rexton, New Brunswick, utilizing the company’s sublingual “Quick Strips”.

The THC and CBD Quick Strips will be available in 2.5mg, 5mg, or 10mg doses. Strips can also be a combination of both CBD and THC. The sublingual strips deliver the cannabinoids directly to the bloodstream through the oral mucosa, mitigating side effects by lowering the dose and/or changing the route of delivery.

“We are extremely pleased with the progress of this important research endeavour offering a potentially life-changing solution that is positioned to resolve many of the current problems facing First Nations and the rest of the world pertaining to opioid addiction,” said Denise Hannay, CEO of E.C.O. “By leveraging our innovative genetics and organic growing methodology, our strong delivery partners behind Quick Strip, and strong scientific partnerships with institutions like UNB, we are well on our way to fulfilling our goal to develop a wellness solution for First Nation People starting with Natoaganeg. This is just one of the multiple therapeutic applications that our product offers which we plan to expand through other clinical programs like this.”

Natoaganeg First Nation Chief George Ginnish says he’s very pleased by the partnership. 

“Chief Roger has been a pioneer in alcohol and drug education in our community and many other Indigenous communities for over forty years. Our community is proud to support Roger’s continued wellness crusade”.

Tom Mann, CEO of GITPO Consulting added “There has been a concerted effort to initiate a treatment program that addresses the unique needs and challenges of the First Nation People. The GITPO Spiritual Wellness centre and programs aim to restore mental, physical, and spiritual wellness of the people who seek help. This is an incredible collaboration of Indigenous leaders, health and education experts, industry and government with a common goal of establishing a wellness solution.” 

E.C.O. Canadian was first licensed in October of 2020 and holds a Cultivation and Processing licence, as well as a medical and non-medical sales licence for dried flower. They expect to gain authorization to sell their sublingual strips later this year.