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

Are you ready for tourists? Tourism Kelowna wants your input

Tourism Kelowna’s survey asks Central Okanagan residents if they’re comfortable reopening tourism

Missing toddler wandered for three hours in Beaverdell area before being found

The two-year-old boy was found safe by his uncle on Beaver Creek Road on Aug. 12

40 under 40: Dr. Andrew Dargie

Andrew practices advanced medical aesthetics in both Kelowna and Vernon, B.C.

Roots and Blues festival to kick off virtually on Friday

Watch the festival on Black Press Media website platforms, for free

Shopping carts and garbage discovered in morning fire in Kelowna

The blaze broke out on private property on Springfield Road about 5 a.m.

Video: SUV burns alongside the highway near Salmon Arm

Footage of the burning vehicle was posted to Youtube.

COLUMN: Waiting for answers on COVID-19, benefits and WE charity

Recent questions raised in the House of Commons have not yet been answered

What’s COVID-19 doing to friendships?

Life and Faith column by Jim Taylor

B.C. announces multi-year plan to double treatment beds for youth with addiction

This will bring the total number of new beds specific to those 12 to 24 years old to 247 province-wide

Fatality after early morning crash on Highway 1 near Revelstoke

The incident was between a semi truck and passenger vehicle

BC Burn Fund benefits from Vernon firefighters

More than $5,000 raised at 2019 R.F. Brett Memorial Golf Tournament

B.C. man who nearly died from COVID-19 reflects on one-month battle

Robert Billyard was in an induced coma to ensure his body would not fight the ventilator to breathe

Two structures burned in Cawston blaze

Crews from Keremeos, Kaleden and Osoyoos attended blaze early on Aug. 13

Potential child predator spotted in Penticton property

The man was reportedly seen at the Columbus Park Property attempting to lure children with candy

Most Read