The BC government has entered into their sixth agreement supporting a First Nation’s aspirations in the cannabis industry.
Shxwhá:y Village, near Chilliwack, BC and the Province of British Columbia announced today that they have entered a government-to-government agreement that supports cannabis economic development.
This is the sixth agreement of its kind. Previous Section 119 agreements with First Nations in BC have been signed with Williams Lake First Nation, Cowichan Tribes, Snuneymuxw First Nation, Lhtako Dené Nation, and Kispiox First Nation.
Williams Lake First Nation and Cowichan Tribes both operate cannabis production and retail locations. Snuneymuxw First Nation operates a retail store that opened earlier this year, while Lhtako Dené Nation plans on operating both retail and production.
Kispiox First Nation’s intentions in the industry are still not known and have not as of yet responded to media requests for clarification.
Section 119 of the province’s Cannabis Control and Licensing Act allows BC to enter into agreements with Indigenous Nations. BC says that this agreement provides “some variation” from the provincial framework for Shxwhá:y’s cannabis operations while maintaining alignment with federal and provincial cannabis laws.
“Shxwhá:y Village and B.C. have diligently worked in partnership to reach an agreement that supports both governments in meeting our cannabis objectives,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “Together, we’re implementing a path forward that supports a safe and strong cannabis sector.”
The agreement supports Shxwhá:y’s interests in operating cannabis production and retail ventures, and it affirms each government’s shared policy objectives relating to public health and safety, social responsibility, protecting young people, deterring illicit activity, and supporting socio-economic development.
Shxwhá:y Village is currently home to FN Canna, which was federally licenced in 2021 for cultivation and processing.
“We set out to harmonize our interests and approach with those of the provincial government. We had some tough discussions and finalizing this agreement took the better part of three years, but I am proud we signed an agreement that sets a strong foundation for ongoing government-to-government collaboration,” said Chief Robert Gladstone, Shxwhá:y Village. “This is reconciliation in action. However, reconciliation has no end. The work continues through the implementation of this agreement. This would not have been possible without the support of my community, colleagues at the BC Cannabis Secretariat and my negotiating team at All Nations.”
The province has also established a program called BC Indigenous Cannabis Product (BCICP) intended to highlight BC cannabis products from First Nations producers.