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Nipissing First Nation to open first licensed pot shop

From link to article by Emma Spears, Feb 18th 2020

Nipissing First Nation is gearing up to open its first licensed cannabis retail store by the end of February.

Kana Leaf, to be located in Nipissing First Nation off Highway 17 on Osprey Miikan, is set to start selling cannabis on February 29.

The licensed dispensary will be a first in the North Bay region — although Northern Zen Cannabis, another store on Nipissing First Nation, is also in the process of gaining government approval to operate.

Kana Leaf co-owner Garet Avery says that the shop has completed its Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) inspection, and its application is pending — and that after a year of work, the store is set to be staffed entirely by NFN members and is finally ready to go.

“We will be the first one in the area and that’s pretty exciting in itself, because people get to see what we’re about and they get to choose,” Avery told the North Bay Nugget, noting that the shop will stock a variety of cannabis products including dried flower, CBD-infused products, and various accessories.

Avery sees the store as an opportunity to provide his community with safely-sourced cannabis products and stimulate the local economy.

“For myself, I was looking at it and I was seeing other First Nations and seeing how they were operating. It was not legitimate and you never know where it’s coming from,” Avery said. “So we kind of wanted to be the first ones to actually give legal cannabis that’s health and safety inspected, that’s not illegal.”

Last year, Nipissing First Nation established its own set of cannabis laws, which set the minimum consumption age at 21, added a fee to the sale of all cannabis products for community health efforts, and banned items like edibles that could be mistakenly consumed by children.

Ontario government announced last year its intention to lift the cap on the number of private, licensed cannabis retail stores in the province and put an end to its controversial lottery system.

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