Cowichan Tribes will now be able to produce cannabis as well as sell it under a one-year agreement with the province.
The government and the First Nation have entered into a time-limited agreement under the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act in which the Cowichan Tribes will be able to participate in cannabis retail as well as production.
The agreement is only the second of its kind in B.C. after the province entered into its first one under the CCLA with the Williams Lake First Nation on Sept. 20, 2020.
Cowichan Tribes and its partners currently operate two Costa Canna cannabis retail outlets in the Valley, one in Duncan Village and the other at the Cowichan Commons, and is looking to eventually open more stores.
The CCLA generally restricts businesses from operating in both the cannabis production and retail sectors in order to ensure the B.C. retail market is not dominated by a small number of larger producers, but the time-limited agreement enables Cowichan Tribes to continue its existing licensed retail cannabis operations as well as participate in licensed cannabis production.
“During the period of the agreement, the province will undertake further policy work to ensure the provincial regulatory framework supports continued development of a robust and diverse cannabis industry that is inclusive of Indigenous Nations,” according to a press release from the province.