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Williams Lake Indian Band eyes B.C.’s first farm to gate cannabis operation

Once built, the micro cannabis cultivation facility is anticipated to make millions for WLIB
The Williams Lake Indian Band (WLIB) is planning on building a modern micro cannabis facility with wood features and a ‘living’ glass wall which will give customers a real time view of the cannabis cultivation process. (WLIB photo)

The Williams Lake Indian Band (WLIB) is hoping to break ground within the next four to five weeks on a micro cannabis cultivation facility.

According to Chief Willie Sellars, the 6,000-sq.ft facility will have 2,150 square feet of growing space and will be located by the retail store Indigenous Bloom that WLIB launched last March on IR 6 beside Kal Tire in Williams Lake.

“We want to make this cutting edge, we want to make this something that nobody has ever seen before, and we want to make it something that people are comfortable with coming around and exploring and experiencing,” Sellars said in a Facebook video to membership posted April 18.

“So, is it going to be ugly? Is it going to stink? Is it going to look out of place? The answer is ‘no.’ ”

With profits from Indigenous Bloom having benefitted the WLIB’s Elders group, recreation, school, and daycare programs, Sellars said they remain committed to social programming, drug awareness, scholarships and bursaries.

Within the first year of operation, revenue from the store has resulted in 11 full-time jobs and allowed WLIB to pay off all development costs associated with Indigenous Bloom.

Sellars said it will cost between $2 million to $2.5 million to build the micro cannabis cultivation facility, which will be funded by the provincial and federal governments, the Northern Development Initiative Trust and internal revenue.

The facility will be B.C’s first ‘farm to gate sales’ where high quality cannabis can be bought directly from the facility where it is grown, he said.

Read More: Tsilhqot’in Nation celebrates new solar farm west of Williams Lake

The facility is anticipated to result in an annual net profit of $1.5 million to $8 million for WLIB, depending on provincial and local sales, and provide 10 to 20 full-time jobs in Williams Lake.

They hope to start construction on the building in four to five weeks, with the facility becoming operational within 12 to 14 months.

Read More: WLIB breaks ground on $8 million-plus administration building construction project

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