Article by Solomon Israel, Winnipeg Free Press
A new cannabis shop near the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border is set to be Canada’s first federally legal marijuana outlet on First Nations territory.
The Meta Cannabis Supply Co. store in Opaskwayak is scheduled to make its first sale at noon Wednesday. The store is leasing space in the Otineka Mall, owned by the Opaskwayak Cree Nation, and is located just across the Saskatchewan River from The Pas.
Eleven of the store’s 12 employees, including the manager, are OCN band members, according to Onekanew (Chief) Christian Sinclair.
“I went to go see them this morning, they’re all very excited and they’ve been training for the last couple of weeks,” said Sinclair, who expects the store to attract shoppers from within a two- to three-hour radius of The Pas.
“It’s going to see a lot of foot traffic, and people going by it every day,” he said.
“It’s designed based on the policies and legislation of the federal and provincial governments, and actually meets and exceeds their requirements. So you’ll see, it’s very tightly controlled and operated.”
OCN is a major shareholder in Meta’s parent company National Access Cannabis, and took a 10 per cent stake in that company in 2017. Sinclair now sits on NAC’s board of directors.