NATIONS Cannabis, an emerging Indigenous cannabis cultivation company, and the Association of Canadian Cannabis Retailers (ACCRES) share a common vision for a regulated industry that ensures a safe supply and safe access to high quality products, and they have formalized their alliance with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU).
NATIONS will provide a farm-to-store, steady supply of cannabis products for the 26 members of the association, representing 65 retail stores. It also presents ACCRES with an opportunity to incorporate a truly Indigenous brand into its fold with an ability to cultivate new strains where market demands change. The projected value of the agreement is $28 million in the first year and $96 million by year three.
“The partnership is pivotal in the evolution of NATIONS”, says the company’s Co-founder and Executive Chairman, Wes Sam. “We are unaware of any such agreement involving an Indigenous production company in this province, and ACCRES has identified our company as the first it has chosen to collaborate with in this manner.”
From the perspective of ACCRES, the deal is a win-win. “We believe NATIONS will become the premier and earliest Indigenous cannabis producer in BC, “says Association Interim President Mathew Greenwood. “They have a product that will allow our retailers to differentiate themselves from others in the marketplace. Furthermore, partnering with a company that gives an authentic voice to Indigenous Peoples is an important aspect of this collaboration and will be exciting for consumers.”
As a late stage applicant in the federal licencing approval process, NATIONS’ momentum was halted this spring amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and construction of its primary cultivation facility was paused. Once work resumes, the process of seeking and securing a federal cultivation and processing licence will also continue.
“As investors in the NATIONS’ project, we believe that the agreement with ACCRES represents real Indigenous economic reconciliation and participation in the cannabis industry,” says Chief Dan George, of the Burns Lake Band (Ts’il Kaz Koh First Nation), adding, “We are excited to be part of this unique journey with NATIONS and their partners.”
Upon licencing approval by Health Canada, NATIONS hopes to actively begin the process of facilitating a direct market arrangement with ACCRES and its respective retailers. Licencing approval will also open the door to a potential producer supply agreement through BC’s Liquor Distribution Branch.