Article by Frank Matys, Orillia Today
Chippewas of Rama First Nation have entered Ontario’s emerging cannabis market with a community-owned and staffed retail store.
Chief Ted Williams said the shop’s recent opening marked a new milestone for the band.
“Rama First Nation has historically demonstrated a willingness to travel new paths in entrepreneurship,” Williams said. “We are happy to have 18 community members employed and training in a new industry.”
Rama Cannabis is located on Rama Road, near the casino, in a new building designed by Orillia architect Roderick H. Young.
Touted as a luxury retail experience, the store’s offerings include edibles, vape liquids, oils, and topicals, with products aimed at both cannabis connoisseurs and first-timers, the band said.
Due to the pandemic, access to the store will be restricted to a few customers at a time with COVID-19 protocols in place.
“We’re very mindful about the health and safety of our community, particularly because we are a First Nation,” said general manager Tracy Beaver. “We’re taking every precaution possible to keep our community safe and protect our employees.”
Beaver said the store was envisioned as a destination shopping experience.
“Our Budmasters and Budtenders are trained to provide whatever level of service the customer is looking for,” she added.
Plans are in place for several Budmasters to earn accreditation as cannabis sommeliers by the end of the year, Beaver said.