New fund to help Indigenous join BC’s legal cannabis space

Published on December 19, 2022 by David Wylie

Photo: Contributed
Terry Teegee, the regional chief of the BC Assembly of First Nations, says many BC First Nations want opportunities in the cannabis space.

A new fund will support Indigenous businesses working in—or looking to join—the legal cannabis space in BC.

The federal and provincial governments say they’ll invest up to $7.5 million in planning and advisory services for Indigenous cannabis businesses and cover the costs of licensing and permitting.

The fund will also make available capital to support the launch or expansion of businesses and support the development of information and planning workshops for First Nations communities and Indigenous entrepreneurs to learn more about the cannabis industry, regulations, business opportunities, and how to apply for funding.

“Developing economic opportunities through cannabis-related initiatives is a priority for many First Nations in British Columbia,” says Terry Teegee, the regional chief of the BC Assembly of First Nations. “We have been advocating for increased economic supports for some time.”

Teegee says the fund is an example of the positive results of their efforts to ensure First Nation participation in the BC cannabis industry.

“At the same time, we urge further partnership among all levels of government to address outstanding issues regarding jurisdiction and implement the economic component of reconciliation, which involves new fiscal relationships,” he adds.

The New Relationship Trust and Aboriginal Financial Institutions in British Columbia will administer the BC Indigenous Cannabis Business Fund.

Federal Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos says the fund will help create critical economic opportunities for Indigenous entrepreneurs and communities.

“The fund will help to facilitate equitable participation and greater involvement of Indigenous-owned businesses in the federally regulated and quality controlled, legal cannabis market,” he says.

BC’s Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth says the fund is a way to develop a robust and diverse legal cannabis economy that includes Indigenous entrepreneurs and First Nation communities.

Visit the New Relationship Trust website for details and to apply for the fund.