Manitoba First Nation takes stake in medical cannabis company

A Manitoba First Nation is making a major investment in a Canadian company that operates medical cannabis clinics, adding itself to a growing list of indigenous communities getting involved in the MMJ sector.

The Opaskwayak Cree Nation, located 530 kilometers (329 miles) northwest of Winnipeg, Manitoba, has purchased 3 million Canadian dollars ($2.5 million) worth of National Access Cannabis’ shares, or about 10% of the company, CBC News reported.

National Access Cannabis, based in Calgary, Alberta, began trading Friday on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol NAC.

NAC operates 10 medical marijuana clinics across the country.

Opaskwayak Cree Nation and its investors are counting on provincial governments allowing the private sector to sell cannabis to customers, instead of government-run distributors, CBC News reported.

That would give First Nations and indigenous communities the opportunity to participate in the retail side of the cannabis industry.

However, four provinces — Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island — have announced or are leaning toward a government-run retail monopoly.

Opaskwayak Cree Nation joins a growing list of indigenous involvement in the cannabis industry:

  • Indigenous Roots, a joint venture with Cronos Group, was launched last December to provide medical cannabis to First Nation patients.
  • Wahgoshig First Nation, located 600 kilometers north of Toronto, invested $2 million in DelShen Therapeutics as part of an extensive community benefits agreement.
  • The Mohawk Council of Kahnawake, located beside Montreal, is currently exploring the possibility of partnering in licensed cannabis production.
  • The Siksika First Nation, located 100 kilometers east of Calgary, has applied to Health Canada to become a medical marijuana producer.