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First Nation Announces Canada Farm-to-Gate Cannabis Operation |

This week, Canada is celebrating Sugar Cane Cannabis, British Columbia’s first farm-to-gate cannabis facility. The facility was also built on First Nations land, making it Canada’s first such establishment.

It is an important milestone in Canadian cannabis for First Nations peoples across the country. 

“It has been a very long journey when you look at what we have been through and what the staff has been able to pull together,” Williams Lake First Nation Chief Willie Sellars tells Black Press Media The May 6th opening ceremony of the state-of the-art facility measuring 7,000 square feet, will enable customers to buy cannabis direct from the grow site.

“They realized this craft cannabis tourism vision model. It’s still a little bit surreal but you can see how pumped they are to showcase it to the public.”

Two years ago, Williams Lake First Nation has built this new facility farm-to-gate. They have been cultivating their brand Unity Cannabis for two years through retail outlets in Penticton as well as Merrit. A new Lac La Hache facility is also planned. It is planned to continue opening stores throughout the province, each filled with cannabis grown at Williams Lake. Their first harvest is expected to occur soon. 

“It’s not the gold rush that everyone expected it was, but it’s a nice niche little business that provides a revenue stream for WLFN and also provides job opportunities for people not only at WLFN but around the province,” Sellars says.

Life Cycle Botanicals supplies the plants to the company. They were licensed May 2022. The Sugar Cane Cannabis Facility has five rooms where they can transplant the plants and then grow them. The rooms contain a variety of flavors, strains and aromas as well as potencies and medicinal properties. 

Brendon, a Master Grower from Toronto, relocated to the new facility to help him grow the finest buds. Plants are subject to 12 hours light and 12 hours darkness. 

“They go to bed at 7 p.m.,” he says.

The facility is still under construction, and soon, a mixed-development building called The Osprey Nest that includes a café, gathering space, and open-concept lofts will also be on-site. In the coming weeks, the company will begin to break ground on the new structure. 

David Coney, B.C.’s director of Indigenous Government Relations BC Cannabis Secretariat, has been working with WLFN and feels this is an important next step for First Nations in the world of cannabis. “It’s fantastic; it’s a beautiful facility,” he says.

However, this didn’t happen without a rocky road forward. Chris Wycotte, WLFN counselor, opened up about some of the concerns he had regarding the idea to start a business similar to this one through First Nations communities. 

“We had to take it to the community and the community supported it. It was accepted without opposition. Maybe there were some concerns, but no opposition.”

And this isn’t the only good news on the horizon for WLFN. In May, First Nations announced they would hold a referendum so members could vote on the $135million settlement proposed by the federal government. A long-standing claim regarding land displacement from traditional tribal village lands will be addressed if the agreement is approved. It was 160 years ago. Restitution is a slow process. There are 400 eligible voters out of over 800 residents.

The First Nations community is proud to have this innovative new cannabis facility.