The Province is providing additional funding to the B.C. Indigenous Cannabis Business Fund (ICBF) to support Indigenous participation in the regulated cannabis industry.
Launched in December 2022, the ICBF supports First Nations communities and Indigenous businesses in British Columbia that want to increase their participation in, or join, the regulated cannabis industry.
Nearly $2.3 million will be provided to the New Relationship Trust, which is responsible for administering the program, for increasing the number of Indigenous businesses that could receive support through the fund. The new, one-time funding is in addition to the original joint contribution of as much as $7.5 million by the Province and the federal government over three years.
"I am pleased that this additional grant will support Indigenous entrepreneurs in British Columbia," said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. "It is another step forward in keeping true to our commitment to developing a robust, diverse, and sustainable regulated cannabis economy that is inclusive of Indigenous entrepreneurs and First Nations communities."
The fund supports business planning and advisory services and helps Indigenous businesses or First Nations cover the costs of licensing and permitting. It also makes capital available to support the launch or expansion of businesses.
Additionally, the fund will support the development of information and planning workshops for First Nations communities and Indigenous entrepreneurs to learn about the cannabis industry, regulations, business opportunities, and how to apply for funding. These supports will create jobs and economic opportunities for Indigenous businesses and First Nations.
Regional Chief Terry Teegee, BC Assembly of First Nations: "I commend the Province for enhancing its support of First Nations cannabis-related economic development through the ICBF. This fund is one example of how the B.C. Assembly of First Nations advocates and works collaboratively to advance First Nations rights and interests in alignment with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples."
Hugh Braker, political executive, First Nations Summit" "We are pleased B.C. is providing additional funding for the IBCF. The cannabis industry is one of many sectors where First Nations communities and entrepreneurs can work to create self-determined economies, engage in the B.C. economy and take the lead in the cannabis industry going forward. We continue to see this program as a key support for the priorities of First Nations in relation to cannabis and look forward to how it will evolve as we continue to work to align provincial and federal laws with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples."
Walter Schneider, chief executive officer of New Relationship Trust: "The cannabis sector can be a multifaceted decision for First Nation communities and entrepreneurs. The additional funding means unlocking more opportunities for First Nations seeking to advance their own path toward economic development in the regulated cannabis industry. The New Relationship Trust is excited to continue its work with the Province of B.C. and Aboriginal financial institutions in supporting First Nations that choose to implement and participate in this important initiative."