Oct 23, 2017
AKWESASNE— Seven Leaf, a Mohawk-owned company is almost set to start growing and selling medical marijuana in Canada. The company is renovating a former water bottling plant on Cornwall Island in Akwesasne into a multi-million dollar company with plans to employ 100 people.
And they are hardly alone, the market is booming.
Health Canada, says more than 200,000 Canadians are licensed to buy medical marijuana that started with a grow-your-own model in 2001. In 2014 Canada started licensing commercial growers and today, there are 67 growers across Canada, half of them in Ontario.
Seven Leaf, is owned by former Akwesasne Mohawk Police Chief Lewis Mitchell, former chief Lorraine White and Michael “Gus” Pyke a pharmacist in Akwesasne they launched Seven Leaf.
Mitchell, a veteran of 13 years as police chief said he saw the criminal effects of illegal marijuana. “It creates a market for criminal organizations to take advantage of.” But he has also seen the pain and suffering disease and illness has caused friends and family members suffering diabetes and cancer. He said medical cannabis, now legal in Canada, has become an alternative to more addictive opioid drugs. “I’ve seen the benefits of the use of marijuana to ease a lot of pain.”
It has taken Seven Leaf four years through Health Canada’s cumbersome process and it is now finally expecting final approval from Health Canada’s licensing process in time to start plants in the spring. “We have a tracking system that’s approved by Health Canada,” says Mitchell, “so that each plant is accounted for from the minute it sprouts to harvest.”
Seven Leaf president Lewis Mitchell says Canada’s market is competitive and growing. He said he hopes Seven Leaf being indigenous owned will be a selling point, but he says they know that’s not enough. “We still have to produce quality product.”
Canada only grants medical cannabis licenses now but is getting ready to legalize pot in 2018. Ontario is rolling out a plan to open 150 recreational marijuana stores run by the liquor control board but whether Ontario regulations will be imposed on reserves is unclear.
Despite that, who will grow the weed may be unclear, but Seven Leaf, Ontario licensed, hopes to be in a position to help stock the shelves. -With files from AP-