The Canadian government has partnered with First Nations representatives to launch the British Columbia Indigenous Cannabis Business Fund to increase Indigenous representation in the cannabis industry.
The fund will cover the costs of licensing and permitting and make available capital to support the launch or expansion of a business. The fund will also support the development of information and planning workshops for First Nations communities and Indigenous entrepreneurs to learn more about the industry, regulations, and opportunities.
The new fund was announced Friday by Regional Chief Terry Teegee, the BC Assembly of First Nations, the Task Group for the First Nations Summit, Federal Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos, Federal Minister of Indigenous Services Patty Hajdu and Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth.
The funding comes from the federal and provincial governments through the federal Strategic Partnerships Initiative.
The New Relationship Trust (NRT) and Aboriginal Financial Institutions (AFIs) in B.C. will assist in the application process and contribution agreements for the fund. Meanwhile, a committee consisting of Indigenous Services Canada, Health Canada, B.C. Cannabis Secretariat and the First Nations Leadership Council will provide guidance and consultation.
The NRT is an independent, non-profit organization that aims to strengthen and support First Nations communities in education, language, and economic development. Aboriginal Financial Institutions are autonomous, Indigenous-controlled, community-based financial organizations.
AFIs provide developmental lending, business financing, and support services to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit businesses in all provinces and territories.
“Developing economic opportunities through cannabis-related initiatives is a priority for many First Nations in British Columbia,” Regional Chief of the BC Assembly of First Nations Terry Teegee said in a statement.
“BCAFN is pleased to partner on the B.C. Indigenous Cannabis Business Fund, providing much-needed capital and support for capacity building, community planning and decision-making.”
“We have been advocating for increased economic support for some time and we look forward to advancing further initiatives and opportunities like this to support BC First Nations. This fund is an example of the positive results of our efforts to ensure First Nation participation in the B.C. cannabis industry,” Teegee added.
“This fund is another way the Province of British Columbia is keeping true to our commitment to developing a robust and diverse legal cannabis economy that is inclusive of Indigenous entrepreneurs and First Nation communities,” B.C.’s Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said.