Indigenous Bloom

A man sits in the shade in August at the Indigenous Bloom cannabis store on the Penticton Indian Reserve. The shop is operating in a legal grey area.

The Osoyoos Indian Band is doubling down on cannabis dispensaries.

The band announced Monday it has opened an Indigenous Bloom store at its gas bar at the Senkulmen Business Park near Oliver. A second Indigenous Bloom is due to open next week at Nk’Mip Corner in Osoyoos.

“This enters OIB into the cannabis industry under our Community Cannabis Bylaw and under OIB jurisdiction. Economic prosperity and job creation are our clear objectives,” Chief Clarence Louie said in a press release.

Neither store has been licensed by the B.C. Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch, but the press release asserts First Nations governments “possess the right and the tools to develop their land into sustainable economies.”

That regulatory grey area means the stores don’t charge provincial or federal taxes, giving them a pricing advantage over their licensed competitors.

Indigenous Bloom, which also operates a store on the Penticton Indian Reserve, partners with First Nations across Canada on all aspects of the cannabis business, from production to sales. The company’s executive chairman is Robert Louie, former chief of the Westbank First Nation.