Indigenous business owners looking to make ventures into the cannabis industry will have full support from the provincial government, according to a new agreement signed by Tsleil-Waututh Nation and the province of B.C.
In a statement released Wednesday, the province said the agreement supports Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s interests in "operating cannabis production and retail ventures."
It also said the agreement confirms each government share the same views on factors surrounding the retail and cultivation of marijuana, including public health and safety, social responsibility, the protection of young people, the deterring of illegal activity and the support of socio-economic and cultural well-being.
The agreement is the seventh to be signed between the two governments, and will encourage economic growth among the Indigenous community, said Tsleil-Waututh Nation Chief Jen Thomas.
“Tsleil-Waututh Nation is committed to bringing new economic development and employment opportunities to our community," she said.
"This cannabis agreement will result in many benefits, such as stable, long-term jobs and income for our members. We view this government-to-government agreement as a positive step in our relationship with the province."
Thomas said the agreement was "reconciliation in action" and an important part of the province's commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
"The work continues through the implementation of this agreement and others like it that will ultimately allow Indigenous economies to grow and thrive."
The agreement follows the Indigenous Cannabis Product program, an initiative rolled out in January to highlight the marijuana products that can be purchased from B.C.-based Indigenous producers, both in store and online – thus serving as guidance to those who are hoping to support local, Indigenous-run businesses.
"The Tsleil-Waututh Nation and the B.C. government are making good inroads on government-to-government relationships," said Susie Chant, MLA for North Vancouver-Seymour.
“This agreement continues to strengthen the platform of those relationships, working together to achieve goals for regulated cannabis.”
Mina Kerr-Lazenby is the North Shore News' Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.