The Kure Cannabis Society is set to open next month as the first provincially licensed cannabis retail store in B.C. on Indigenous land.
Located on the Skwah First Nation reserve, the Kure was granted its licence on April 25 to operate a non-medical cannabis retail store.
That makes it the first licensee on First Nations land in B.C.
“We will be opening our doors for business as soon as possible, with a grand opening, to be announced in May,” said owner Adam Mussell. “It feels great.”
The go-ahead came from the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch, and paves the way for the store to re-open.
“It was my whole goal to work with the government to show that we could work together on native land towards a common goal and accomplish things the legal way,” Mussell said. “That’s why we stayed closed all that time.”
The Kure first opened up in May 2018 as the first cannabis shop on First Nations land in Chilliwack, followed soon after by Indigenous Bloom. On July 12, 2018 both shops were raided by the RCMP and both opened again for business soon after.
But while Indigenous Bloom continued operation, even opening a second shop, Mussell shut down The Kure in October deciding before legalization last fall to complete the application and await provincial approval.
Mussell said he and his wife, Carrie, found the experience of working with the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch to be “excellent,” and staff were extremely helpful, friendly and easy to work with throughout.
Carrie Mussell said it was learning experience for everyone.
“Figuring out how to work on First Nations land and still enforce provincial regulations was a challenge that we worked on together,” she said.
Licensees can only sell federally approved cannabis products.
“Currently, these include dried cannabis, cannabis oil and seeds. Retail sale of edible products is not currently authorized by the federal government,” according to the cannabis retail rules.
Discussions with those interested in establishing retail operations in other Indigenous communities have already started informally.
“Now that we have the knowledge and the contacts, I feel we are in a unique position to assist others with the process,” Mussell said. “Our goal is to franchise and expand out.”
But for now, the focus is on re-opening the doors.
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