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OPASKWAYAK CREE NATION, A LEADER IN THE CANADIAN CANNABIS RETAIL MARKET
By Gillian Ward
Onekanew (Chief) Christian Sinclair is the new face of boutique cannabis retailing, first to the puck in the hard and fast game that is the Cannabis industry in Canada.
Water Today reached out to the Opaskwayak Cree Nation Chief to find out more about the successful launch and growth of the enterprise he has guided into being. Onekanew shared how timing his moves well and using good business acumen had helped him turn an emerging market opportunity into a manifest reality for his community, which up until then had been on the brink of bankruptcy. Since Cannabis has been legalized in Canada, Opaskwayak Cree Nation has captured attention by becoming one of the largest individual shareholders in National Access Cannabis, (TSX Meta-X), casting an impressive footprint in direct distribution of a very special cannabis product.
Premium growing conditions within what is known as "The Emerald Triangle" of Northern California produce the "Bordeaux" of cannabis, a level of quality Onekanew believes had not been perceived or appreciated in the market until now. Sinclair proposes to turn Canada’s cannabis consumers into connaisseurs, knowledgeable and demanding top quality in the regulated cannabis marketplace. As with fine wine, terroir is key to quality product. The health and quality of the soil, the nutrients applied, the quality of the water and hours of sunshine are critical to quality. The experienced growers of the Emerald Triangle are affiliated with Alternate Health, another publicly traded company in the regulated cannabis industry, in which OCN is further invested. The specialty growers are committed to smaller production areas, and able to give the artisanal touch to produce the quality of product required for OCN's boutique outlets, as Onekanew forecasts, "Canada's new cup of coffee".
Manitoba Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Board imports the specified product from the USA for the OCN distribution network. OCN's interests and operations are licensed for business by Health Canada and the local jurisdictions in which they operate. The retail distribution network presently includes an on-line store and 23 licensed storefront retail shops in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, for medical and recreational supply.
Onekanew anticipates growing this territory to 53 storefronts by the summer season, as new retailers receive retail permits in Western Canadian jurisdictions. Sinclair says a new retail storefront can be open for business within thirty days of receiving a permit from its jurisdictional regulatory agency. OCN has extended its corporate reach into the financing arena, holding shares in a unique financing company for the cannabis industry, Trichome. From community-minded founding protocols provided by OCN Elders, to strategic vertical investment in the industry and the finest quality product available, Sinclair certainly seems to have captured the trifecta for success in regulated cannabis.
Opaskwayak Cree Nation (OCN) has 6200 members. The community is situated along the Saskatchewan River near The Pas, Manitoba.
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