First cannabis dispensary in Peepeekisis Cree Nation will bring in much-needed funds for the local economy

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

A band-owned cannabis dispensary opened for business in Peepeekisis Cree Nation on Saturday, February 15. Joint Adventures Medical Dispensary can be found close to the Peepeekisis Health Centre. It will serve both medical and recreational consumers.

The purpose of Peepeekisis Cree Nation’s cannabis dispensary which is located 19 kilometres east of Balcarres in Southern Saskatchewan is to strengthen the local economy. This is according to Colin Stonechild, who is responsible for the First Nation’s economic development.

“We’ve looked at other opportunities in other fields of economic development, but at the time it came across our plate it was just a prime opportunity in Saskatchewan. It’s been legal for almost two years and we’re capitalizing on the market right now,” explained Stonechild, who says that a lot of elders in the area rely on CBD for chronic pain; in addition to THC and CBD combinations.

Peepeekisis Cree Nation’s cannabis dispensary will help tackle unemployment

Since the launch date of Joint Adventures Medical Dispensary, 15 new jobs have been created for community members within the First Nation. This is according to the FSIN Second Vice Chief, David Pratt, who claims that the dispensary will “improve the lives of 15 people within Peepeekisis and their families.”

Aside from presenting residents with an opportunity to get involved in Saskewetchan’s legal weed market, communities also stand to benefit from Peepeekisis Cree Nation’s cannabis dispensary. Stonechild confirmed this during a recent interview. He says that revenue earned from legal cannabis sales at the First Nation’s new dispensary will be poured back into various community programs; including health care, emergency assistance, elders programs, and sports and recreation.

“This is about self-determination and our inherent rights over our sovereign wealth,” Stonechild said. “We’re creating opportunities to better our community. It’s also going to produce some good outcomes for people’s health evidence and the research that’s being done right now in terms of cannabis and in terms of CBD oils.”

An overview of legal cannabis laws in Saskatchewan

The sale and use of cannabis in Saskatchewan became legal on October 17, 2018. It was at this time that the national Cannabis Act (Bill C-45) went into full effect. Before cannabis became legal in Canada, 51 permit holders were chosen by a lottery process to participate in Saskatchewan. The province’s legal cannabis industry is overseen and regulated by the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA). 

Saskatchewan’s cannabis market is expected to continue inflating as time progresses. Starting from April, SLGA will begin accepting applications for cannabis retail permits in communities with populations of less than 2,500. Then, from September, communities of all sizes will be invited to participate. Communities will also be able to opt-out of cannabis retail stores, if they so desire.

Peepeekisis Cree Nation’s cannabis dispensary wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for the local people’s involvement. The First Nation began establishing its own set of cannabis rules and regulations after getting the thumbs-up from members and elders.

“This is going to be really great for our membership, young and old. It’s a feasible operation for us to enter into, so we consulted our membership and did a consultation,”  said Stonechild. “For us we are a First Nations business. We don’t have sales tax and our product is superior, because we have our own standards on the safety of our products and we just have a good variety and advantages to the regular markets.”