Indigenous Bloom’s Oyster Bay store is now open to the public. (Indigenous Bloom photo)

Indigenous Bloom’s Oyster Bay store is now open to the public. (Indigenous Bloom photo)

Indigenous Bloom and Stz’uminus First Nation partner to provide First Nations cannabis opportunities

Stz’uminus First Nation is a 51 percent owner of the Oyster Bay store

Indigenous Bloom is the Ladysmith area’s newest retail cannabis store. And Stz’uminus First Nation — which owns a 51 percent stake in the location — sees Indigenous Bloom as a prime opportunity for economic growth.

“We feel long-term that we’re going to have a really good location,” Coast Salish Group CEO Ray Gauthier said. “It’s going to take some time to build up the business, but we feel in two or three years it’ll create substantial revenue for the community.”

RELATED: Coast Salish Group poised for generations of future success

Stz’uminus and Indigenous Bloom have been in talks for some time. Gauthier said that former Westbank First Nation Chief Robert Louie first approached Stz’uminus about doing a deal with Indigenous Bloom. Indigenous Bloom is administratively headquartered on Westbank First Nations land.

Louie formed a relationship with Stz’uminus on an unrelated project back in 2012. Gauthier said that the strength of that relationship is part of what made the deal with Indigenous Bloom an attractive development.

“We took some time to explore all of the potential opportunities that were out there around cannabis and felt that Indigenous Bloom was the best avenue for us,” Gauthier said.

Another positive aspect of the proposal was the nature of the deal itself.

Indigenous Bloom operates in partnership with 14 different First Nations communities across Canada and utilizes a sovereignty model where partner nations pass their own cannabis laws and assert jurisdiction on the manufacture and sale of Cannabis products on their reserve lands. Indigenous Bloom also manages the store and has provided employment opportunities for local people.

“Those are good jobs,” Gauthier said. “And the fact that they understand First Nations communities. It made it a heck of a lot easier to work with them to get it from concept to actually being open.”

Indigenous Bloom president, John Eneas said that the company aims to bring on 12 new locations in 2021.

“It is Indigenous Bloom’s goal to expand our retail locations within every province of Canada,” he said.

As for their cannabis, Indigenous Bloom manufactures all of their cannabis products at their Okanagan based cultivation facilities. Indigenous Bloom’s cannabis is only available from their stores and they do not carry other brands.

“Indigenous Bloom utilizes a highly modernized indoor cultivation process. We have our own Mother plants grown by our master growers. Often, we have a unique strain where other locations may not have access to or grown. Our master growers are detail oriented ensuring a high level of growth management, timing of harvest to maximize our plants best condition for our uses, and care for our product from the cultivation to the warehouse, packaging stages,” Eneas said.

All cannabis flower that Indigenous Bloom produces is batch tested in 3rd party laboratories before it is allowed into their supply chain.

Eneas said that the company adheres to a stringent compliance program with over 90 Standard Operating Procedures for our manufacturing and retail facilities.

“Our very serious health and safety focus is fundamental to the way we operate our company. We ensure safety, keeping our product out of the hands of children and our background check program, hiring and screening processes, ensure we keep the criminal element out of our corporation,” he said.

Indigenous Bloom employs approximately 200 people, 60 percent of whom are Indigenous. Eneas said that as the business expands there will be hiring opportunities for all positions across the company. At this time, investment opportunities are limited to First Nations and landowners on First Nations territories.

The Stz’uminus Indigenous Bloom store is located at 102-12590, Trans-Canada Hwy, in Oyster Bay and is open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day.

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