From wood to weed in BC
Published on November 28, 2019 by oz. staff
“The cannabis industry gives us an opportunity to create economic investment and job opportunities – and, perhaps give people an opportunity to come home”
Cannabis can help lift struggling logging communities out of economic hardship, the National Indigenous Cannabis and Hemp Conference in Kelowna heard this week.
Wesley Sam, co-founder of NATIONS, a cannabis production company based in Burns Lake, told conference goers that cannabis can play a role in re-energizing communities hit by a downturn in the forest sector.
The former Chief of the Burns Lake First Nation says he’s seen his home village fall victim to the downturn.
“Burns Lake and the surrounding areas have seen mills shut down, unemployment reach double-digits, and people have left to pursue opportunities elsewhere. The cannabis industry gives us an opportunity to create economic investment and job opportunities – and, perhaps give people an opportunity to come home,” he says.
“There are a number of communities in Canada and the United States that have experienced similar economic set-backs, and a handful of them have seized the opportunity to create jobs, investment, stability – and perhaps most importantly, create hope for a better future.”
Sam says the licensing process is cumbersome and time consuming, especially with Health Canada regulations requiring a cultivation facility be fully constructed in advance of an application being considered for approval. That requires capital and substantial operational investment.
He urged conference attendees to explore the opportunity. He encouraged those who can’t or don’t have the resources to seek out potential partnerships.
NATIONS expects to be the first indigenous-licensed cannabis producer in BC when fully operational in 2020.