Cowichan Tribes and the Province of British Columbia have made permanent a government-to-government agreement that supports participation in cannabis production and sale.
This sustains and builds on the temporary agreement from December 2020.
“This agreement reflects our commitment to reconciliation, economic self-determination for Indigenous Peoples and their full participation in the cannabis sector,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “Cowichan Tribes and B.C. have worked collaboratively to reach an agreement that allows both governments to advance our objectives for cannabis legalization.”
The agreement confirms Cowichan Tribes’ ability to continue operating in cannabis production and retail and enables some variation from the provincewide cannabis framework. This flexibility supports Cowichan Tribes’ unique interests respecting its cannabis operations, while maintaining alignment with the provincial regulatory regime.
“Cowichan Tribes has been in negotiations with the Province for the past two years to reach an agreement that will support new economic development opportunities and advance our interests in jurisdiction and right to self-determination,” said Squtxulenuhw, Chief William (Chip) Seymour, Cowichan Tribes. “This agreement is a positive move forward and reflects the commitment of both our Nation and the Province to continue working government to government to advance our respective priorities and objectives in the cannabis sector. Further discussions are needed, but we are very positive we will achieve our collective goals.”
Section 119 of the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act authorizes the Province to enter into agreements with Indigenous Nations with respect to cannabis. It provides a mechanism for meaningful government-to-government dialogue and supports collaboration that allows for both governments to achieve individual and shared goals.
“The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act is a major shift in provincial-Indigenous relations in B.C.,” said Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. “Entering innovative arrangements like this cannabis agreement is one example of how the Province and First Nations are working together to support growth of the industry and create new, innovative economic opportunities for Indigenous communities.”
The Province remains committed to supporting growth of the cannabis industry. This includes development of programs for direct delivery and farm-gate sales that will launch in 2022.
Order-in-council (OIC): https://www.bclaws.gov.bc.ca/civix/document/id/oic/oic_cur/0654_2021
Information on cannabis regulation in B.C.: https://www.cannabis.gov.bc.ca