Cowichan Tribes, province make cannabis agreement permanent

Cowichan Tribes, who along with its partners currently operate four Costa Canna cannabis retail outlets, and the province have made their cannabis agreement permanent. (File photo)

Cowichan Tribes, on Vancouver Island, and the province have made permanent a government-to-government agreement that supports participation in cannabis production and sales.

This sustains and builds on the temporary agreement between the two parties from December, 2020.

The agreement confirms Cowichan Tribes’ ability to continue operating in cannabis production and retail and enables some variation from the province-wide cannabis framework.

This flexibility supports Cowichan Tribes’ unique interests respecting its cannabis operations, while maintaining alignment with the provincial regulatory regime, according to a press release.

“Cowichan Tribes has been in negotiations with the province for the past two years to reach an agreement that will support new economic development opportunities and advance our interests in jurisdiction and right to self-determination,” said Cowichan Tribes Chief William Seymour (Squtxulenuhw).

“This agreement is a positive move forward and reflects the commitment of both our nation and the province to continue working government-to-government to advance our respective priorities and objectives in the cannabis sector. Further discussions are needed, but we are very positive we will achieve our collective goals.”

Cowichan Tribes and its partners currently operate four Costa Canna cannabis retail outlets; two in the Cowichan Valley and the other two located in Colwood and Saanich, outside Victoria, BC.

Section 119 of the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act authorizes the province to enter into agreements with Indigenous Nations with respect to cannabis.

It provides a mechanism for meaningful government-to-government dialogue and supports collaboration that allows for both governments to achieve individual and shared goals.

“This agreement reflects our commitment to reconciliation, economic self-determination for Indigenous Peoples and their full participation in the cannabis sector,” said Mike Farnworth, minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

“Cowichan Tribes and B.C. have worked collaboratively to reach an agreement that allows both governments to advance our objectives for cannabis legalization.”

The press release said the province remains committed to supporting growth of the cannabis industry. This includes development of programs for direct delivery and farm-gate sales that will launch in 2022.

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