Article by John Mcfadden, Parry Sound North Star
The long-awaited cannabis store in the Shawanaga First Nation will open in the new year. That is according to Shawanaga Band Manager Adam Good.
He said everything is moving forward as planned, adding the store has a manager and an official name.
“We do have our name that we are going with – it’s called Mashkiki Cannabis, which translates in Ojibwe into medicine cannabis,” Good said.
Good said the store will initially open in a temporary location before moving to its permanent site at the community’s new highway service centre, which is to open next summer. He expects the store to employ up to eight people at the beginning.
Shawanaga First Nation found out back in July of 2019 that the Ontario Gaming Commission had awarded it a licence to operate a cannabis retail store. It is one of eight First Nations territories in the province to receive a licence.
Good said they are still waiting for the rubber stamp from the commission. He added there is no reason he knows of that it won’t be forthcoming soon.
Good said they have made plans for how to operate the store under the COVID-19 safety protocols. The intent, depending upon COVID, is to have it open to the general off-territory public not just Shawanaga First Nation members.
“We do have some bylaws in place for all our administration buildings, the cannabis store being one of them,” Good said. There would only be a certain number of customers allowed into the store at one time. Masks will have to be worn and hand sanitizer must be used. All COVID precautions will be in place.”
As the store gets ready to open, Good has heard nothing but encouraging comments from community members about it.
“I’m not aware of myself or chief and council receiving any backlash. It’s been more questions about when it is going to be open. We’ve received a lot of positive feedback. I myself can’t think of any negative comments. People are just anxious to see it open and provide products and services,” Good said.