First Nation to open cannabis retail store on Nanaimo’s waterfront in the new year

Snuneymuxw First Nation intends to open a cannabis retail store on Stewart Avenue in January. News Bulletin photo

The B.C. government has announced an agreement with Snuneymuxw First Nation, on Vancouver Island, around operation of a cannabis retail store set to open in the new year.

Snuneymuxw followed the City of Nanaimo’s re-zoning process last year for a unit on Stewart Avenue close to Departure Bay ferry terminal.

The province, in a press release Dec. 21, noted that it is authorized to enter into agreements with Indigenous Nations through the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act. The release notes that “Snuneymuxw is focused on operating retail cannabis stores that offer a diverse selection of products from licensed producers across Canada,” but the agreement provides flexibility for Snuneymuxw to “pursue its vision for greater participation in the cannabis industry, while maintaining alignment with the provincial regulatory regime.”

Mike Farnworth, B.C. minister of public safety and solicitor general, said in the release that the agreement is an important milestone that advances Snuneymuxw’s economic objectives and demonstrates the benefits of the province and First Nations working together to develop a “vibrant” cannabis sector.

“The … agreement creates career opportunities for our people, income for our government and, most importantly, an opportunity to further advance economic reconciliation and develop our economy as a nation,” said Snuneymuxw Chief Mike Wyse in the release.

The store is expected to open in the new year.

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