REGINA -- Pasqua First Nation has become a major shareholder in Atlas Biotechnologies, an Edmonton-based medicinal cannabis company.

“With our investment, we’re part owner of the facility, and the manufacturing and the growing of the cannabis,” Chief Matthew T. Peigan of Pasqua First Nation said.

Pasqua First Nation (PFN) will also work with Atlas Biotechnologies on an Indigenous cannabis product line of topical creams, called Mino-Ahki— “Good Earth.”

“We basically isolated different compounds from the cannabis plant, and then we took different extracts from the traditional medicines that the First Nations people have used for hundreds of years, if not thousands of years, to be able to treat different ailments, and we basically combined those things,” said Sheldon Croome, CEO of Atlas Biotechnologies.

The creams will be used to treat muscle aches and pains, as well as acne and eczema.

“Some were sent out to our First Nation, [and] we distributed it to some of our elders for joint pains. And it worked quite well,” said Peigan.

The company aims to launch the topical creams in three to four months, and have them on shelves across Canada by the end of 2021 or early 2022.

“At the end of the day, we’re able to make some money that’s going to flow back into their community and help the people, not only the elders and the council, but really everyone who’s living within the community,” said Croome.

Going forward, Peigan said PFN will also look at long-term training plans to employ Indigenous people with the company, and potentially one day, opening an indoor growing facility in Saskatchewan.