2023 BC Economic Development Award Winner
Sugar Cane Cannabis (SCC) is a micro-cultivation facility wholly owned by Williams Lake First Nation (WLFN). SCC includes the first farmgate craft cannabis store in British Columbia. Both enterprises are governed under a historic section 119 government-to-government agreement of the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act. The agreement, being the first of its kind, demonstrates that by working together we can find solutions that allow the Province and Indigenous Nations to achieve individual and shared goals with respect to cannabis legalization.
WLFN holds all the cards to a complete cannabis seed-to-sale model which allows WLFN to decrease the availability of illegal cannabis operations, keeping illegal cannabis out of the hands of minors and providing detailed education about the effects of cannabis so people can make informed choices about cannabis. SCC has been able to hire a staff containing 80% band members offering sustainable and engaging employment while creating long-term own-sourced revenue for WLFN.
Illegal cannabis operations are running rampant amongst First Nation communities. Some of the concerns of illegal cannabis spaces are dirty drugs, no insurance, affiliations with organized crime, no bank account and offering drugs to minors. WLFNs' extensive knowledge in the cannabis space can be taught to other First Nation communities to help them navigate the complex regulatory regimes and operational hurdles that cannabis businesses face.