Peepeekisis looking to boost economy with first cannabis store
PEEPEEKISIS CREE NATION -- Peepeekisis Cree Nation officially opened up its first cannabis store, for both medical and recreational uses, at an event on Saturday.
"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,” said Peepeekisis Headman Colin Stonechild. “It’s been legal for almost two years and we're capitalizing on the market right now,”
In September, organizers spoke to other nations who have already opened up cannabis stores in their communities, to learn about the benefits that could come from the business.
"15 jobs are being created for community members out here out of this opening of the store today so that’s not only going to improve the lives of 15 people within Peepeekisis and their families,” said David Pratt, the FSIN Second Vice Chief. “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.”
Beginning in April, the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority will begin to allow applications for Cannabis retail permits in communities with less than 2,500 people, leaving the market open for business. Peepeekisis officials said they are ready for the competition.
"For us we are a First Nations business, we don't have sales tax and also 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," said Stonechild.
Residents of the community are hoping the opening of the shop with help the nation garner more attention.
“We're a very small reserve and we could have a bigger capacity and with more understanding of who we are and where were coming from and where we are planning on going and it’s not backwards,” said Janet Sigurdson, a Peepeekisis elder.