Sovereignty, Indigenous partnerships, licencing were main themes of 2nd National Indigenous Cannabis and Hemp Conference (NICHC) held this week in Ottawa

(Ottawa, February 22, 2019) For the first time ever, two federal ministers spoke at a cannabis conference – Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor and Border Securities Minister Bill Blair, who is in charge of Canada’s Cannabis Act. Both Ministers made encouraging statements yesterday on the need to further include Indigenous peoples in the hemp and cannabis industry.

“We are supporting Indigenous communities who want to have a role in the cannabis landscape,” said Minister Petipas Taylor, who pointed out that Canada’s legalization and regulation of cannabis presents an historic opportunity to do things better. “Our government respects Indigenous peoples needs, desires and perspectives.”

Minister Blair pointed out that Indigenous Services Canada has recently modernized its economic development policies in order to address participation in the cannabis industry. “Our government recognizes the important link between economic development and improved outcomes in health and social development. The Cannabis Act provides an open and fair licencing process.”

When asked by a delegate if the government would respect the Algonquin sovereign right to produce and sell cannabis in the territory that includes Ottawa, Minister Blair replied: “We acknowledge and respect the jurisdiction of First Nations. There is an important nation to nation discussion on how both of our jurisdictions are recognized, especially in the health and safety of our peoples.”

Isadore Day, Wiindawtegowinini, CEO of Bimaadzwin, who chaired the conference, said there is a multi-billion-dollar potential for partnerships among the 300 delegates, exhibitors and fledgling Indigenous companies/retailers who were present. “That mainstream cannabis train is going to keep on going. Let’s jump on our own track, under our own steam. At the same time, we need to build trust with governments and the Canadian public. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for all our Nations to partner and participate in this growing industry.”

Kahnawake Grand Chief Joseph Tokwiro Norton stressed that his community is developing its own cannabis law in order to ensure public health and safety and access to a population of three million in the Montreal area. “We are already a major contributor to the economy. We employ a lot of people. We need to educate the provincial and federal governments on what we do. We’re going to take advantage of our location. If cannabis is one product that’s going to be in demand, then let’s do it.”

Opaskwayak Cree Nation Onekanew Christian Sinclair brought his remote Manitoba community out of debt by investing and partnering in cannabis production and retail companies in Canada and California. “Because of the current cannabis shortage for years to come, this is a golden opportunity for all First Nations to get into the game.”

Bimaadzwin continues to work towards clarifying and setting out challenging policy discussions. These challenges are being identified by working with Indigenous cannabis entrepreneurs, communities, and leaders within First Nation, federal, and provincial jurisdictions in regard to participation in the hemp and cannabis economy.

For more information, please contact:

Bryan Hendry, Director of Marketing and Communications, bhendry@bimaadzwin.ca or 613-863-1764

All photos by Fred Cattroll

Indigenous Cannabis Consortium to be launched at National Indigenous Cannabis and Hemp Conference

“Now is the Time for First Nations and Indigenous Peoples to Secure Their Position in the Global Cannabis Market”

 

Serpent River, Ontario, Jan. 31, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — “The second National Indigenous Cannabis and Hemp Conference (NICHC) to be held in Ottawa, February 19-21, represents a significant opportunity for First Nations and Indigenous peoples to secure a significant competitive position in the national and global cannabis and hemp markets,” said Isadore Day, CEO of Bimaadzwin, and publisher of Growth and Prosperity Magazine at https://bimaadzwin.ca/magazine/

“The first NICHC brought together  a national consortium and working group that is focused on supporting those Indigenous entrepreneurs and communities who want to participate in the cannabis market,” said Mr. Day. “There are a number of questions and concerns on policy, process, and participation that we need answered at next month’s conference.”

Key Open Questions Include:

Indigenous communities must be able to fully participate in Canada’s cannabis industry and the global market – from seed to sale – in a manner that respects our sovereignty, community by-laws and global commercial reality. When will the government provide clarity on critical issues?

Indigenous communities want to have the ability to sell cannabis products to their own members, the Canadian public, and also export internationally. How do we as First Nation companies establish ourselves to compete across all markets? If cannabis products are tested and meet current Health Canada standards, will there be any other federal/provincial barriers to full commercial participation?

How can Indigenous communities access federal health and education funding to understand and communicate cannabis health risks and benefits, especially to inform and protect our youth and to support our harm reduction challenges? We have specific concerns about edibles and derivative products as they aren’t well understood or tested but are soon expected to come to the market.  

“We know that Wiisag,  a First Nation cannabis company, and one of the invited participants,  deals with these types of questions every day. We have heard that they have been working out these questions with every community and entrepreneur they have been forming alliances and partnerships with,” added Mr. Day.

“We are extremely excited to have Wiisag participate in the second National Indigenous Cannabis and Hemp Conference.  They seem to stir up much excitement among the participants with their vision of a national and international Indigenous brand,” said conference organizer Howard Silver.

“Wiisag is looking forward to another great experience and thanks the tremendous efforts of Bimaadzwin and the conference organizers for extending Wiisag the opportunity to participate and engage with all of the conferecnce participants.  We wish everyone safe travels,“ said Jake Linklater, Executive Chairman of Wiisag.

The conference opens with a reception at the Ottawa Shaw Centre on the evening of February 19th, sponsored by Bimaadzwin, Wiisag, and the Capital Hill Group. Parliamentarians have been invited to attend. Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor is one of many conference speakers. For details on the 2nd National Indigenous Cannabis and Hemp Conference, please visit: www.nichc.ca

Attachment

Bryan Hendry
Bimaadzwin
6138631764
bhendry@bimaadzwin.ca