From left to right: Alex Weber and Gary Thompson are helping local First Nation communities access the cannabis sector with their company Genotype Innovations (Connor Trembley - Kelowna Capital News)

Third annual Indigenous cannabis conference underway in Kelowna

First Nation leaders are discussing how cannabis can bring economic benefits to their communities

The third annual National Indigenous Cannabis & Hemp Conference (NICHC)is slowly wrapping up this week in Kelowna.

The four-day event is running from Tuesday to Friday at Delta Hotels and has seen First Nation chiefs and business leaders talk about the economic benefits that the cannabis industry is bringing to Indigenous communities throughout Canada.

READ MORE: Okanagan’s first legal cannabis store opens

As part of the discussions today, four panelists talked about how rural First Nation communities are benefiting from the construction of their very own cannabis production facilities and stores.

Wesley Sam, co-founder of a cannabis production company based in Burns Lake called Nations, said more and more Indigenous communities are looking to cannabis to help fulfill labour gaps in their communities.

“There is a big downturn in the forestry industry right now. Many of those impacted areas are are looking to bring back businesses to their communities,” said Sam.

“We believe that cannabis is one of those answers.”

The cannabis production facility that Sam is building in Burns Lake is just one real life example of how Indigenous communities can diversify their own local economies. The cannabis facility he’s refurbishing used to manufacture wood products.

Sam said his own cannabis facility will have numerous economic benefits to the community once it’s complete in four months.

“Once it’s all said and done, the spin-offs for Burns Lake will be up to 60 people employed in various job opportunities,” said Sam.

“Ten to 12 million dollars will be spent in the area alone from the facility.”

In the Okanagan, Genotype Innovations co-founder Alex Weber said at the conference that his company is helping numerous local First Nations access the growing cannabis sector.

“We help First Nation communities federally or on their own. Every community is completely different in how they might want to access the industry,” said Weber.

“We advise them how to build their business towards the cannabis industry. For example, we might advise them on the new United Declarations Rights of Indigenous Peoples’ coming into affect and how that might impact cannabis legislation.”

According to Statistics Canada, more than five million Canadians reported having used cannabis between mid-August and mid-September of this year.


@connortrembley
connor.trembley@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

Just Posted

Sternwheelers once plied Okanagan Lake

Vessels once transported passengers and goods along the Okanagan Valley

West Kelowna man found dead in van on Vernon road

Foul play is not suspected in death of 39-year-old found Saturday, Aug. 1

Fires ignite on Revelstoke’s Mt. Begbie; Kamloops Fire Centre blazes holding

Crews working throughout region over holiday weekend to contain wildfires

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

Water down at Lake Country mobile home park

Residents at Creek Run mobile home park have been without running water for more than a week

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Police watchdog investigates Kamloops RCMP after stabbing death

The IIO is investigating the police’s lack of success in locating the man charged in stabbing

Forty-three properties near Dry Lake, along Highway 5A, under evacuation alert

Wildfire has been burning out of control north of Princeton for two days

Wildfire near Merritt creates smoke for drivers on Coquihalla

Coldwater River fire was estimated at seven hectares Aug. 3 and classified as out of control

Thompson Okanagan Tourist Association: Who can’t access your business?

TOTA launches video to encourage proprietors to remove barriers

Shuswap pet nutritionist, raw diet advocate to be featured in national magazine

Sicamous-based Deanna Larocque building reputation for canine support

BC RCMP notify IIO BC of incident involving police dog in Kelowna

A suspect and a police dog were taken to receive medical treatment after an incident on Aug. 1.

Alberta man presumed to have drowned after cliff jumping in Peachland

Emergency responders began rescue efforts at around 2:40 p.m. on Aug. 1.

Most Read