Ontario First Nation chiefs vote to assert jurisdiction over cannabis operations

Photo from The Canadian Press

by James Hopkin

Originally published on June 13 at SooToday.com

SAULT STE. MARIE – The Chiefs of Ontario have passed a resolution enabling First Nations to assert complete jurisdiction to govern all cannabis operations within their own territories.

The resolution was passed during the 45th Annual All Ontario Chiefs Conference in Sault Ste. Marie Thursday.

Thessalon First Nation Chief Edward Boulrice moved the resolution, with Garden River First Nation Chief Paul Syrette acting as the seconder.

The resolution argues that no consultation took place with the federal government prior to the legalization of cannabis this past October.

“There was little or no community consultation by the federal government and there are still no provisions in the legislation which address First Nation social and cultural needs, and rights to economic development, health and public safety,” the resolution reads.

While the resolution acknowledges that First Nations may consider following federal and provincial regulations while exploring opportunities within the cannabis industry, it also allows First Nations jurisdiction to establish their own laws and regulations.

“First Nations must have their autonomy and authority recognized as rights holders at the table as governments when asserting their interests in the cannabis sector,” the resolution states.

The resolution asserts First Nations jurisdiction over its own operations, which includes ‘regulation of the growth, processing and sale of cannabis and in all its derivatives.’

The document also urges federal and provincial governments to eliminate barriers and to ‘cease interference that would impede nation-to-nation trade and commerce.’

The Chiefs of Ontario represent 133 First Nations throughout the province.

– SooToday.com

Bimaadzwin CEO Isadore Day is hosting a cannabis reception. Here’s why

Isadore Day is pictured in this 2015 file photo. Donna Hopper/SooToday

by James Hopkin

Originally published on June 10 at SooToday.com

Former Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day wants to talk to proponents of the First Nations cannabis industry about the opportunities that exist within going green.

The founder and CEO of Bimaadzwin – a company that provides services related to project management, facilitation and policy analysis, among other things – is using his company to host First Nation Cannabis Reception: Growth, Prosperity and Cultivating a Green Economy, an event slated for Monday evening at Sault Ste. Marie Delta Waterfront.

“It’s a file that obviously has great interest to the federal government, the provincial government and First Nations, and because First Nations have not been effectively engaged and consulted on this,” Day said.

The three-hour reception will be attended by First Nations cannabis retailers that are interested in discussing the idea of forming an association that would help create a framework for certification, testing and compliance going forward.

“Today’s meeting is going to be twofold – it’s going to be to actually discuss some of those internal issues, and how we put those targeted issues and requests,” Day said.

The timing of the Bimaadzwin cannabis reception isn’t pure happenstance, either.

The Chiefs of Ontario will be hosting its 45th annual All Chiefs Conference over the next three days, beginning Tuesday morning in Sault Ste. Marie.

“I don’t suspect it [cannabis reception] will be an overly huge meeting, but I do think it will be a meeting with the right people, and we are going to be sitting down and talking about what some of the communities are doing in the region here, and hopefully, making sure that they’re able to do what they need to do based on support that we can help them define in the chiefs assembly,” Day said.

The cannabis industry has been on Day’s radar for awhile – it precedes his political career – but now, he says, is the time for some clarity in terms of how First Nations enter a new and lucrative industry.   

“Many First Nations are dealing with cannabis on a number of different levels, and the way they’re asserting this on a number of different levels is something that should be brought into center, into focus this way – becoming much more clear about how communities engage, and how communities basically come up with their decisions around cannabis, and the priorities that they set out in their cannabis policies,” said Day. “That really should be the discussion we’re having.”

Bimaadzwin is now publishing an online cannabis and hemp industry magazine, Growth and Prosperity, to highlight, in part, the economic opportunities potentially available.  

“This is cultivation, it’s administration. It’s in the field, it’s processing, and it’s distribution and retail,” said Day. “So there’s a value chain within cannabis that is really of interest to First Nations, because there has been a lot of money made so far on cannabis, and it is a lucrative industry.”

“We’re now taking the time to examine those opportunities very carefully.”

Day says there’s essentially three ways in which First Nations can enter the cannabis industry – full sovereignty, full Crown compliance or a harmonized approach that would blend elements of Indigenous sovereignty and governmental compliance.

Day believes that many First Nations will end up taking the harmonized approach.   

“I don’t think the province or the federal government want to end up in court on this, because there was no real consultation with our communities,” said Day. “There were obviously discussions, but there was nothing that was coordinated on a level…where we could actually be recognized as a party to the enabling legislation – [Bill] C-45 – and then the rollout into the provinces.”

“First Nations are saying, ‘absolutely not, we cannot just take this for what it’s worth to the federal government and the provinces, we have to demonstrate what the worth of this industry is from our perspective,’” he continued. “That means putting in place our community laws, it means sitting at the table and negotiating those frameworks with the province and the federal governments, and basically, making sure that our communities are up to speed and supporting what we’re doing.”

Bimaadzwin has been at the forefront of two National Indigenous Cannabis and Hemp Conference events since the inaugural one, which took place in Alberta in November 2018.  

Those events, Day says, have helped push the First Nations cannabis file forward by establishing dialogue.  

“We’ve had federal and provincial governments with us all along, so where the Chiefs of Ontario and the AFN [Assembly of First Nations] may have not have been able to actually move this file, you know, being the former regional chief I understand the food chain, the political apparatus in the federal family, and I’ve been able to keep this ball rolling,” he said.

Day says that through Bimaadzwin’s work with the national cannabis conferences and talks with more than a dozen First Nations, the messaging surrounding First Nations involvement in the cannabis industry has been clear – even if the process is not. 

“The playing field is not level, I’ll say that much,” said Day. “The First Nations are saying, ‘listen, if we’re recognized as jurisdictions, if we are seen as First Nations, if reconciliation is real – then we should be able to do this as well.’”

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

Indigenous Peoples stake more claim in the Cannabis and Hemp Industry


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE –Treaty No.7 (Calgary, AB.) November 22, 2018 – The first ever National Indigenous Cannabis and Hemp Conference at Tsuut’ina Nation attracted approximately 500 participants and resulted in a common goal of working together to stake claim in the growing need of Cannabis and Hemp.
The common themes that emerged from the three-day conference and trade show was, Indigenous Peoples must work together with both government and industry in order to secure a considerable share in Canada’s newest multi-billion dollar industry.
“The issue of jurisdiction is the overwhelming priority coming out of this conference. Asserting our jurisdiction in the cannabis and hemp industry must be respected by mainstream industry and at all levels of government,” said Chief Isadore Day, who chaired the conference. “Economic sovereignty, health and safety, and community risk and impacts are the main themes we heard. Most importantly, we heard there is a growing interest in establishing a national network of Indigenous producers and retailers in order to compete with the larger multi-billion dollar cannabis companies.”

Representatives from Health Canada and Indigenous Affairs were also in attendance and presented at the conference. The federal government seems willing to support First Nations participation in the industry, while at the same time respecting jurisdiction.

“Elders have long talked about cannabis being the medicine that will help. We must maintain our symbiotic relationship that this medicinal plant offers and all other Indigenous medicines. There has to be balance as we move forward. If the only driver is economic development then it becomes the drug of addiction and the people will be foreign to the help that this medicine provides. We must move forward with our fundamental beliefs in mind so our Peoples and others will benefit from the healing aspects of this medicinal plant,” said Chief Lee Crowchild, of the Tsuut’ina Nation.

“The legalization of cannabis has created an enormous opportunity for Indigenous Peoples. The challenge we face now is that time is running out. Our Peoples need reassurance that we can still be major contributors to this new economy so everyone can benefit. We are eager to continue our focus and momentum that has been created by our communities, cannabis experts and business developers,” concluded Chief Day.

In order to follow-up on the pressing issues and themes that emerged during this past week, the second National Indigenous Cannabis and Hemp Conference will be held in Ottawa, Ontario on February 19-21, 2019. www.nichc.ca

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Media Inquiries, please contact: Nicole Robertson – nicole.robertson@telus.net (403) 616-4999 Bryan Hendry -bhendry@bimaadzwin.ca (613) 863-1764

WIISAG Announces Safe, Effective, and Affordable Cannabis Health Program for First Nation and Inuit Patients

 

(November 26, 2018, Toronto, ON) Wiisag Corporation, a First Nation cannabis company headquartered at Neyaashiinigmiing, ON, is pleased to announce that it will offer personal health services designed and delivered by Indigenous Nurses. These services are for those First Nation and Inuit patients who either have an existing authorization to use medicinal cannabis or want to determine if cannabis is potentially beneficial to their personal health.

“We are welcoming patients into the Wiisag family. We strongly believe that it is necessary for health professionals to not just authorize access to cannabis but, to guide patients throughout their journey until we all know more about the impacts of cannabis,” said Juanita Rickard, Registered Nurse and Director of Wiisag’s Health Services Bureau. “Cannabis products are very complicated and impact every person differently, depending on a whole range of factors, such as pre-existing medicines and current health. Our Health Services team is made up of Indigenous Nurses who will monitor each patient’s personal health journey with cannabis, and study how cannabis is impacting their health and well-being and recommend appropriate adjustments in products.”

Wiisag is in discussions with the Federal government and Licensed Producers to make the cannabis products our Wiisag Nurses deem appropriate for our patients affordable. Wiisag has recommended that the Government pay for cannabis only for patients who also fully participate in the Health Services Program until more analysis is available concerning the benefits of cannabis as part of a holistic health program.

“Wiisag is committed to improving the health of our First Nation/Inuit brothers and sisters across the country.  Wiisag’s vision of health excellence is evidenced in our investment in carefully selected health service professionals and in our partnerships with academic institutions and industry players,” said Isadore Day, Government and Community Relations. “Sadly, we know that First Nations and Inuit people in Canada are on average in poorer health and have shorter life expectancies than other Canadians.  We also know that First Nations and Inuit people in Canada suffer disproportionately from such disorders as chronic pain, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, sleep disorders, nausea and opioid addiction to name a few. The proper use of cannabis, supervised by indigenous nurses may be a real improvement for our people’s health

Wiisag has supply and cooperation agreements with select Licensed Producers. Wiisag health services professionals have identified select cannabis products from these LPs that they believe will potentially be beneficial to Wiisag patients. These LPs have sublicense Wiisag’s brand and will supply Wiisag’s authorized patients.

“We want to provide comfort and certainty to our patients first and then the system. Our nurses are working with a select few Licensed Producers to choose appropriate strains and thc/cbd combinations which will be offered as Wiisag brand cannabis products. We are well on the road to safe and effective use of cannabis with our nurse’s program and now we are focused on ensuring that cannabis products are affordable for our First Nations and Inuk patients. We are working on a number of strategies to achieve this critical objective,” said Jake Linklater, Founder and Executive Chairman.

Wiisag is a First Nations integrated cannabis business active in all elements of the cannabis business; Cultivation (indoor and outdoor), product development, processing and packaging. In addition to these activities Wiisag is investing in a unique Cannabis Health Services program based on consultations with First Nations leaders and communities. Wiisag intends to compete globally as the authentic First Nation cannabis company and invites all First Nations leaders to reach out for further information.

To further advance this endeavour, Joel Strickland, Founder and Chief Executive Officer said, “We intend to create a competitive, authentic, indigenous global brand to compete in the cannabis industry by making it attractive for First Nations communities and indigenous entrepreneurs to join Wiisag’s national network. We have listened carefully to Chiefs, Councilors, Elders, leaders and communities’ concerns about (and hopes for) cannabis. We then went to the indigenous health care community to understand how they could be effective in terms of facilitating a safe, and effective experience with cannabis for suitable patients.”

Interested patients, whether you already have an existing authorization to use medicinal cannabis or not are invited to pre-register with Wiisag at info@wiisag.ca as the program will go live on February 14, 2019.

For more information, including a backgrounder, contact:

Bryan Hendry, Director of Marketing and Communications, bhendry@wiisag.ca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Technical Writer/Policy Analyst (Full Time Employment – 6 Month Contract)

 

Technical Writer/Policy Analyst (Full Time Employment – 6 Month Contract)

Who we are:

Bimaadzwin is a newly formed company founded by former Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day.  Our clients include health care professionals, pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, capital ventures and First Nations, to name a few.  In our short time in existence we have grown rapidly and need someone who is a competent writer with a solid background in Indigenous issues.  If you can work under tight timelines in an independent manner providing top quality work, you will quickly become an invaluable member to our team.

About you:

To be successfully considered for this role, you will have:

  • Post-secondary education with a relevant college or university degree;
  • A solid understanding of First Nations and Indigenous Issues in Ontario;
  • 4 years of demonstrated experience as a policy analyst or a technical writer;
  • An understanding of at least one or more of the following areas: health, education, social policy, communications, infrastructure, economic analysis, and government relations;
  • The ability to take complex information and summarize it into easy to read reports;
  • Can demonstrate an ability to deal with sensitive and confidential information;
  • Strong written and verbal communications skills, with abilities to simplify and communicate complex technical data to various audiences quickly and effectively.

Additional Considerations:

This position will be a full-time job at $24.00 per hour.

Candidates in the Ottawa Region are preferred but we remain open to other regions within Ontario, provided a candidate can demonstrate the ability to fit within our team with minimal support.

Before you apply, please learn more about Bimaadzwin by visiting www.bimaadzwin.ca.  If you think you are a fit with our organization, please send a cover letter, resume, and your references to employment@bimaadzwin.ca.

This job listing will close on Tuesday November 20, 2018; but applications will be reviewed as received.

As an Indigenous organization, we proudly act as an equal opportunity employer.

Elected Municipal Leaders in Ontario can benefit by promptly reaching out to First Nations on Urgent Matters and Mutual Interests including Climate Change

(Toronto – October 23rd, 2018) Isadore Day, CEO of Bimaadzwin, congratulates newly elected and re-elected municipal leaders across Ontario. To those that served and were not successful or decided to step back and let a new generation lead, they too are respected and acknowledged for their sacrifice and contribution.

“Serving local interests and addressing the needs of the people at the community level is rewarding overall and will always have its challenges – that goes without saying. Finding ways to work collectively with other jurisdictions and finding mutual goals is something that should never wait until a region is in the midst of a crisis or emergency,” says Chief Day, who spent 15 years as an elected First Nation official in his community of Serpent River First Nation, and is former Regional Chief of Ontario.

“This year when the PCs defeated the Liberals in Ontario to form the next provincial government, political priorities became altered and a new focus would see a diminished Ontario Reconciliation agenda, cap and trade, and many social programs that were making a ‘quality of living’ difference for Ontarians and First Nations. An inevitable response: find a way to address issues at the local and regional level with strong and strategic partnerships.

“The reality is that we rely on local leaders in First Nations and in municipalities across Ontario to address the standard critical issues facing regional populations and communities. These critical issues include economy, procurement, employment, regional services and infrastructure investments. But the big question in everyone’s mind is, will we survive as a human species 20 years from now?” questions Chief Day.

Failure of local governments, First Nation and municipal leaders to come together, results in ineffective regional clusters of communities unable to realize their collective strengths and opportunities. Far too many times, local governments fail to build necessary bridges beyond community borders, resulting in missed opportunities like making necessary impacts on the global level like trade policy, national energy policy, and the scariest issue of our time – altering the impacts and uncertainty of climate change.

“Climate change is one of the major challenges of our time and adds considerable stress to our societies and to the environment. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale. Without drastic action today, adapting to these impacts in the future will be more difficult and costly.” United Nations on Climate Change – http://www.un.org/en/sections/issues-depth/climate-change/

Chief Day also says that building bridges between municipal and First Nation governments will take education, awareness, understanding the different histories and governance structures, setting priorities, and creating a partnership tables, and making investments of time and effort. Ultimately, joint effort and action plans are far better than having no plan at all.

“On a pragmatic level, communities protecting the environment together, making Reconciliation a collective value, and pooling resources for making communities stronger together – that is where we are going to see the greatest impacts on the bigger issues,” he concludes. “First Nations, as rights holders, are neither provincial structures of the province, nor are they federal subjects, rather First Nation Chiefs and Councils who are jurisdictional partners that can strengthen regional planning and achieved success. The first step is for First Nations and municipal leaders to convene in one mind and in one heart – there is no alternative to collective leadership solutions.”

Bimaadzwin is an Indigenous Organization that offers capital venture, advisory, facilitation and policy analytic services with a focus on bringing mainstream, Firss Nt Nation communities, and governments together toward successfully reconstituting Indigenous nationhood.[/vc_column_text]

Day One Roll Out of Legal Cannabis A Positive Sign of Potential Economic ‘Reconciliation’ for First Nation Producers and Retailers

MEDIA RELEASE

October 18, 2018

Day One Roll Out of Legal Cannabis A Positive Sign of Potential Economic ‘Reconciliation’ for First Nation Producers and Retailers

(Serpent River First Nation, October 18, 2018) After just one day of legalized cannabis rolling out across the country, Canada’s new green economy has sparked a huge appetite in the hundreds of thousands of consumers who lined up at store fronts and clicked away online. In fact, the overwhelming demand has already resulted in shortages of certain products.

“The media has reported that some stores ran out of cannabis by early afternoon while online retailers had over a million visitors yesterday,” said Isadore Day, Founder and Chief Executive Offices of Bimaadzwin Inc. “Of course, it was the first day of legalization and we’ll never again see people lining up at midnight in order to buy a few grams of marijuana. However, this is a strong indication that in the months and years to come, the cannabis industry needs a reliable supply of product.

“As the former co-chair of the Assembly of First Nations’ National Task Force on Cannabis, I remain very much involved in all aspects of the potential for Indigenous participation in this new industry. There are dozens of First Nation communities who have developed business opportunities in production facilities. At last month’s Ontario First Nation Economic Advancement Conference, held in Toronto, a survey revealed that over 60 per cent of economic development officers indicated their communities have already been approached to participate as partners or investors in the cannabis industry.”

To some extent, First Nations in Ontario have gained much experience in the industry in recent years. Tyendinaga First Nation has about 40-50 dispensaries, as well as a production facility that complies with all federal standards. The Mohawks of Akwesasne recently became the first 100 per cent First Nation owned cannabis production facility to be granted a medical marijuana licence from Health Canada.

“Next month, the very first Indigenous focused cannabis conference will be held at the Grey Eagle Resort and Casino in Calgary, hosted by the Tsuut’ina First Nation (www.nihc.ca). A second conference will be held in Ottawa in February, 2019,” said Chief Day. “These are opportunities for governments and industry to work with First Nations not just on economic development, but education, health and safety as well.

“When the prohibition of alcohol ended in the 1930s, beer, wine, and liquor grew into annual multi-billion dollar industries. Until the 1960s, First Nations were not even allowed to purchase alcohol,” noted Chief Day. “The end of cannabis prohibition represents an opportunity for economic ‘reconciliation’ with Canada’s First Peoples. It’s time that this new green economy benefit the Peoples who have shared these lands in the expectation that we would all share in the wealth for generations to come.”