Kukpi7 (Chief) Patrick Harry says Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation is probing the potential of a cannabis production facility within the community. (Rebecca Dyok photo)

B.C. Interior First Nation eyes own cannabis operation for economic, medicinal benefit

Kukpi7 (Chief) Patrick Harry says cannabis could assist with trauma recovery, pain relief

A B.C. First Nation located in a semi-remote area on the Fraser River southwest of Williams Lake is exploring potential operations within the cannabis industry.

Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation (Canoe Creek/Dog Creek) Kukpi7 (Chief) Patrick Harry said the nation (SXFN) has signed a letter of intent with a B.C. First Nations company to explore cannabis production that would provide economic and medicinal benefits for his community.

“We still have some work to do but our nation is interested and I would say as a leader in my community I think I have a responsibility to explore the opportunity within the cannabis sector as we see the numbers across Canada are favourable,” he said.

Supported by SXFN Council, Harry said council has backed their economic development corporation, SXDC Ltd., in further examining the potential of cannabis production so long it does not have a social or health impact to the community.

Read More: B.C. Interior First Nation breaks ground on farm-to-gate cannabis cultivation facility

“We don’t want to see it end up in the hands our youth,” he said. “It is about medicine and responsibility to take on the economics that come with cannabis.”

Noting cannabis can be used as a pain remedy, Harry said a number of SXFN members are suffering from cancer, arthritis and or other ailments.

“We’ve experienced a great deal of trauma in our past — inter-generational trauma and trauma from colonization, and I don’t think that we should fail to mention that cannabis can be a medicinal plant to assist with trauma and some of those issues and concerns that some of our members have,” he added.

Harry attended a groundbreaking ceremony for what will be B.C.’s first farm-to-gate cannabis facility in Williams Lake by the Williams Lake First Nation earlier this week.

“I’m cheering them on and I know that they are making a difference for the City of Williams Lake and for the province as a whole, and for First Nations across B.C. who are leading by example,” he said of the Williams Lake First Nation.

“They’ve shown us that there is a path.”


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