Long Plain First Nation opens Winnipeg's 1st urban reserve pot shop

Winnipeg’s newest pot shop has officially opened its doors.

Store will employ 14 Long Plain members

Customers check out the offerings Friday at Meta Cannabis Supply Co. on Madison Street. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

Winnipeg's newest pot shop has officially opened its doors — and it's the first to open on an urban reserve in the city.

Meta Cannabis Supply Co., a joint venture between Long Plain First Nation and National Access Cannabis, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday.

The shop — located at 420 Madison St. (and yes, that cannabis-culture related number really is the address) — is the third First Nations retail pot store launched with National Access Cannabis.

Winnipeg's newest pot shop, Meta Cannabis Supply Co., opened after a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Long Plain First Nation's urban reserve in St. James Friday. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

NAC now has a total of five stores in the province, and the company has said it plans on eventually opening 16 Meta shops in Manitoba.

"I think this place will be very, very busy," said Long Plain Chief Dennis Meeches, shortly after the new store made its first sale.

Long Plain has already opened a Meta Cannabis store with NAC in Portage la Prairie, Man., since recreational cannabis legalization in October.

Meeches said each location will employ a staff of 14, made up of Long Plain members.

Some of the product on display Friday at Meta Cannabis Supply Co. at 420 Madison St. in Winnipeg. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

The First Nation owns 51 per cent of the store, with the other 49 per cent owned by managing partner National Access Cannabis​.

Meeches said the partnership has been good for Long Plain's economy.

"We're going to see a lot of transformation when it comes to Indigenous economies," he said.

The urban reserve locations are open to everyone, and treaty status is not needed to make purchases, said Meeches.

First sale

Cindy Allard, who manages Long Plain's Winnipeg urban reserve, was the first customer to buy pot at the new store.

She said it was the first time she's purchased legal cannabis and, after paying $56 for four grams, she said she'll have to wait and see if the price point is fair.

Cindy Allard, who manages Long Plain's Winnipeg urban reserve, was the new store's first customer, buying four grams of legal pot for $56. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

"I'm not too sure yet, because I'm not too sure about the quality," she said. "I'd like to assume that because it's a little pricier that the quality is there."

The retailer isn't growing product itself. Instead, it's getting the cannabis from licensed growers.

Meeches said the current Madison Street location is only a temporary spot for the Meta store.

The First Nation has plans to eventually build a hotel, convention centre and commercial complex at the urban reserve site and, when that happens, Meeches says the shop will move into the new digs.

Long Plain's three-acre property near Polo Park Shopping Centre became an urban reserve in 2013 — the first in the province. Manitoba now has 10 urban reserves.