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First nations band unveils medical marijuana project


November 10, 2014
By The Canadian Press

Nov. 10, 2014, Penticton, B.C. — The Penticton Indian Band in British Columbia’s Interior is proposing to build an on-reserve medical marijuana facility that caters specifically to health conditions afflicting indigenous populations.

If the community approves the plan, the band would become the first aboriginal producer to become federally licensed to grow medical pot in Western Canada.

The joint venture on reserve land is poised to expand across the country, with aboriginal bands as far away as Ontario already expressing interest in the model.

The band’s development corporation has signed a letter of intent with cannabis producer Kaneh Bosm BioTechnology, and it held its first community information session last month.

Elaine Alec, a planning and community engagement specialist with the band who sits on Kaneh Bosm’s advisory board, says the two parties are looking at a niche product to address such diseases as diabetes and arthritis among aboriginal Canadians.

Penticton Chief Jonathan Kruger says the community recently held an information meeting where about 90 per cent of members approved of the plan, but the nation must still have a referendum before pursuing licensing through Health Canada.


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