From Winnipeg Sun link to article by
Glen Dawkins December 7th, 2018
The first legal recreational cannabis store on a Winnipeg urban reserve began operation Friday with the opening of a Meta Cannabis Supply Co. retail outlet at the Long Plain Madison Reserve at 420 Madison Street near Polo Park.
“It’s really exciting,” said store manager Heather Pelletier Friday following the official opening. “I’m looking forward to being super-busy and getting a lot of customers from the community. I think we’re going to do very well.”
This is the third First Nations retail store launched with National Access Cannabis, the second with Long Plain First Nation and the fifth META store in the province. It will be staffed by Long Plain members who have been trained using NAC’s proprietary model to ensure safe, secure and responsible distribution of legal cannabis, Long Plain leaders said.
“There are a lot of good economic development projects in the works for Long Plain,” said Long Plain Chief Dennis Meeches. “Opening up our second Meta store is really I think a good day for Long Plain.”
The cannabis store is owned by Long Plain and National Access Cannabis in partnership with Opaskwayak Cree Nation and developed by Arrowhead Development Corporation, the economic development arm of Long Plain. The Winnipeg urban reserve has been in operation since 2013 and includes a Petro Canada gas station.
“Our eventual plan is to open up a hotel/convention centre/commercial complex which would be on this site,” said Meeches.
“These are a great opportunity to create wealth for the First Nation but there are also economic spinoffs to the town or municipality they are located in,” said Opaskwayak Cree Nation Onekanew (Chief) and NAC board member Christian Sinclair. “So it becomes a win-win-win situation for the First Nation, for the municipality and for employees and customers who come to the stores and frequent them.”
Cindy Allard, the manager of the urban reserve, was the first customer, making her purchase shortly after the noon official opening.
Open to all members of the community, the store is expected to employ 14 people, the same number who work in the Long Plain’s Keesekeemaquah urban reserve just outside of Portage, Meeches said. Another 45 work at the Petro Canada gas station.
“Can you imagine when we build the new hotel and convention centre complex here, how many people we’re going to be able to employ?,” he asked.
“The (Arrowhead) Development Corporation’s mandate is to create employment and revenue for the First Nation,” said Tim Daniels, Arrowhead’s CEO. “We’re diversifying our existing businesses. We’re into gaming, gas stations, conferencing and land but this is a brand new industry that we’re in and we’re looking forward to providing employment and also providing a product.”
Long Plain is located located 14 km southwest of Portage La Prairie, and 98 kilometers west of Winnipe, just south of the TransCanada Highway.