Snaw-naw-as First Nation entrepreneurs have opened a second location for what is to become a chain of cannabis stores.
Tyler Bob, who founded Mary Jane’s Pure Cure (MJPC) with his wife, said he wants to show other First Nations there are opportunities to be self sufficient and self-governing in the growing cannabis industry.
“It is showing progress for these nations to push forward in this industry and not wait for laws to be subject and put onto us from other governments, as we have our own land code,” he said. “We have our own taxation code, we are under some laws of UNDRIP (United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples) and our own cannabis act.”
He said he informed provincial and federal government representatives in 2018 his business will not be pursuing a provincial license — “provincial jurisdiction does not supersede our laws,” he said.
“We write our own laws for everything else and what we have done is amended our laws and wrote a cannabis act to provide protocols on how to develop in this industry.”
The business has not experienced pushback from the Regional District of Nanaimo or surrounding municipalities, Tyler said.
He said the store is part of what he calls the ‘red market’ — a First Nation regulated cannabis market. “We are not being in the grey market by coming out here on the highway, we want to be recognized for our self sustainability in this industry,” he said.
“I am excited for this. It brings employment to our nation. The spinoff of that, it helps the rest of the communities — Nanoose, Lantzville, Nanaimo, so it is quite the exciting time. I want to wish MJPC nothing but the best in their business venture,” said Tom Bob, Tyler’s father and Snaw-naw-as band councillor.
Tyler said MJPC, with its new location, has created a total of 18 jobs and a third location is set to open this weekend in Coombs.
He and his wife started their business as a consulting company to teach people about cannabis after researching CBD products when Tom was sick. He said CBD prevented him from needing major stomach surgery.
MJPC started as “more or less a mom and pop shop out of the house,” according to Tyler.
He said he named the business after his late daughter Mary. “She passed away from a sudden heart failure and so that really kinda offset us as a family.”