A tiny northern Ontario First Nation has announced plans to get into the medical marijuana business.

The Wahgoshig First Nation, near Kirkland Lake, is partnering with an Ontario company called DelShen Therapeutics to convert a former forestry operation into a facility that will grow "pharmaceutical grade" pot.

The medical marijuana grown will be a strain developed in the Netherlands, specifically for medical purposes.

The entire operation is expected to cost $18-million. In a press release, chief David Babin said the First Nation has chipped in $2-million of that cost.

"This investment exceeds all of our long-term sustainable economic development criteria. We believe Wahgoshig's investment in DelShen's success will benefit the entire region," stated Babin.

The venture is expected to create 30 jobs during the start-up phase and up to 100 jobs once the facility is fully operational. There will be a training program developed to ensure people from the Wahgoshig First Nation get a crack at those jobs. This has a huge potential impact for a community with a population of 234.

"Bringing a new industry like pharmaceutical grade marijuana to the region gives aboriginal people more opportunities to stay here to work at good, safe jobs," said NDP MP Charlie Angus. Wahgoshig and the proposed facility are located in his riding of Timmins-James Bay.

First Nation Pot 20141109

The Penticton Indian Band in British Columbia's Interior is proposing to build an on-reserve medical marijuana facility that caters specifically to health conditions afflicting indigenous populations. (Ho/CP)

​Wahgoshig is not the first First Nation to consider medical marijuana as an option for economic development. In 2014, the Penticton Indian Band in BC announced that it was also developing a multi-million dollar growing facility. In 2013, the Tobique First Nation in New Brunswick was working with an American company to build a medical marijuana research and treatment facility.
Medical marijuana is regulated by Health Canada, which lists 26 licensed producers across the country — 14 of which are in Ontario.

In Friday's press release, DelShen says the northern Ontario project is "awaiting notification on the final step toward receiving its production licence."