Opposition hounds B.C. cannabis facility proposed across Indigenous healing centre

Premium Cannabis Meds BC faces strong opposition against planned Port Alberni business.

A company wants to build a cannabis facility across the street from the Kackaamin Family Development Centre.

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A proposed cannabis production facility in Vancouver Island faces strong opposition because of its chosen site.

To explain, Premium Cannabis Meds BC plans to operate across the street from an Indigenous healing centre.

The centre serves families dealing with alcohol and drug addictions.

Opposition started immediately after the project became known in 2017 in the city of Port Alberni in B.C.

Critics expressed concerns about the impact of the cannabis facility’s operations on the Kackaamin Family Development Centre.

Specifically, the centre operates across the street on Beaver Creek Road.

Moreover, the Kackaamin represents one of a few Indigenous centres in the country that help families deal with addictions.

The centre got its name from the Nuu-chah-nulth word for ‘butterfly’. The Indigenous word goes by the pronunciation ‘cots common‘.

Opposition to the proposed cannabis facility also involves environmental issues.

To illustrate, critics note that sensitive wetland constitutes most of the area where the industrial facility will operate.

CannCentral sought comment from Premium Cannabis Meds BC, but received no reply as of this post.

Online, the company states that it sees itself in the future as a “leader in research, production and high quality Cannabis production and distribution”.

Opposition grows against cannabis project

NDP MP Gord Johns represents the federal riding of Courtenay—Alberni.

On February 25, 2021, Johns presented in the House of Commons a paper petition from community members expressing opposition to the project.

Moreover, a week before Johns’ presentation, an electronic petition opened for signatures on February 18.

Johns authorized the e-petition initiated by Noemie Foley, a volunteer with the Beaver Creek-area community.

The petition states that the cannabis company did not consult the Kackaamin.

In addition, it lists a number of calls addressed to federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu.

One proposes an acknowledgment of the “implicit racism in the policy choices of Health Canada’s cannabis licensing process and handling of this file”.

Further, to expedite the review of the Premium Cannabis Meds BC file, and “cancel all cannabis licenses and applications at 7827, 7825 and 7821 Beaver Creek Road”.

The petition also calls for an apology to Kackaamin.

The ongoing e-petition closes for signature on June 18, 2021.

NDP MP Johns will present the petition in the House if it gathers at least 500 signatures.

Follow Carlito Pablo on Twitter @carlitopablo

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