A ribbon cutting was held for the grand opening of the first legal cannabis store in Williams Lake.
Indigenous Bloom opened Saturday morning with bannock being served throughout the day followed with speeches and a ribbon cutting by the Chief of the Williams Lake Indian Band and local dignitaries.
Chief Willie Sellars said he could not be happier.
“I’m over the moon right now,” Sellars told MyCaribooNow.
“I mean you really look at the support that we got with the turnout, it really came and showed us that people are supportive of this industry in Williams Lake and this region. We had people that drove over 175 kilometers to be here to purchase product from our new cannabis retail store so I could not be happier.”
“I think the support we saw from the City, the CRD, the province-our MLA was here and she said some great words and she’s been supportive since the outset, it’s awesome. It’s really good to see.”
Sellars said the site will be a working progress and that they eventually want to pave the lot and improve the access.
He said with the establishment of Indigenous Bloom, the Williams Lake Indian Band is not only exercising jurisdiction over their reserve lands but are creating revenue and jobs.
Indigenous Bloom director and chairman representative Robert Louie said he was very proud of the Williams Lake Indian Band, the community, the people, and Chief and Council.
“I certainly just feel fantastic for them. I congratulate them,” Louie said.
“This is a true economic development endeavor that should present hope. Hope in the sense of employment, good revenues, and hopefully, a good feeling that you have cannabis in a medical oriented sense. You have Canada’s approval of that, and I think the majority of the people in Canada support cannabis.”
Louie said Indigenous Bloom has been standing behind First Nations communities in Canada and that the Williams Lake Indian Band is one of those communities.
Saturday’s grand opening marks the fifth location for Indigenous Bloom that is also operating with First Nations communities in the Chilliwack and Okanagan area.
Sellars said 11 people are currently employed at the store.
“It’s going to grow as we have more retail stores, more getting into the growing side-there’s a number of initiatives that we’re very excited about,” he said.
“The big one at the end of the day for is employment for us. The revenue-generating also is key, but employment is key in this region. The store is going to help generate us that revenue so that we can pay for waterlines, social programming, and a number of different things like recreation, taking care of our elders.”
“It’s successful businesses and partnerships that are going to help us get there,” Sellars continued.
“It’s a day of reconciliaction-it’s a cool term that’s getting thrown around. Reconciliaction/reconciliation that’s how we are moving forward building those relationships into the future.”