On Sunday, November 26th, indigenous people interested in the cannabis industry will be gathering from 12-5pm at the Community Hall in Alderville.
One of the outcomes of the October 21st indigenous cannabis meeting in Six Nations was a commitment from Medicine Wheel Natural Healing owner Rob Stevenson to organize a follow up gathering in his home community.
With the community hall of theAlderville First Nation now booked, Stevenson has confirmed the meeting will be going ahead on Sunday, November 26th from 12-5pm.
In the first part of the meeting, Stevenson and members of his staff will make a presentation on the healing benefits of cannabis and talk about the experiences they’ve been having with their store and the community they serve.
The second part of the meeting will be for indigenous people involved in, or interested in becoming part of the indigenous cannabis industry. This session will discuss the current political situation regarding cannabis legalization in Ontario, and consider the drafting of a common unity declaration between indigenous participants in the industry.
This meeting comes in the wake of agathering organized in Six Nations on October 21st. Despite being shut out of the community hall by band council, over 50 people gathered to share information and to make plans for the future.
That meeting saw participants encourage each other to get involved in the cannabis industry before the July 2018 planned legalization by the Federal government.
Indigenous people are claiming the right to use cannabis for medicinal purposes across Canada. In 2017, over 30 dispensaries on indigenous territories have opened in Ontario alone. Unlike dispensaries off-reserve, the province has no jurisdiction on reserve, and the question of how cannabis on reserve will be handled remains an open one.
Ever since we opened on June 21st, 2017, Medicine Wheel Natural Healing has been working all out to bring our patients the very best in herbal based natural healing. For us that means knowing exactly what is in all the medicines we are providing, and making sure that we provide the safest and most high quality medicine available.
Therefore we have taken steps to be able to grow our own supply, and to be able to test all products that are sold out of our store. The following five part series provides an in-depth look at our efforts in this regard as we build a federally licensed grow operation and educational centre right next to our store in Alderville First Nation.
In September of 2017, Gary Wassaykeesic of Real People’s Media was given a comprehensive tour of the facilities. Here is his report. All video filming and editing by Tom Keefer.
There’s some exciting new developments at Medicine Wheel that have been taking place in September. Owner Rob Stevenson gives an overview about the new grow operation and educational centre that he is establishing next to his store.
A few days after the first video, Medicine Wheel owner Rob Stevenson takes Gary Wassaykeesic of Real People’s Media on a tour of the licensed grow operation and education facility that is the most recent addition to his facility.
Rob explains to Gary Wassaykeesic why he’s planning to grow next to his store, and the purposes of the three newly delivered portables that have been recently delivered.
In this segment, Rob explains why the buildings have been levelled the way they have and tours the inside of the newly delivered buildings.
This building is where clones will be grown and where hand trimming of the final product will take place.
Dalton takes Gary Wassaykeesic on a tour of Medicine Wheel’s state of the art testing facility. This machinery is used to test all of the medicine sold at the store, and can determine both CBD and THC levels of the product.
Even more video!
And if all these videos aren’t enough for you, we encourage you to check out this facility tour of MWNH also conducted by Gary Wassaykeesic. This video was made in August of 2017 and features Rob Stevenson doing a walk through of the store.
The Medicine Wheel Healing Centre is located on Alderville First Nation 8986 county road 45 Roseneath K0K 2X0 just off of Highway 45, near the town of Roseneath. The Alderville First Nation is located on the south shore of Rice Lake. Peterborough is on the North side of the lake, Oshawa is to the west, and Coburg and Port Hope are due south on Highway 45. The store is open 11am-7pm, Tuesday through Sunday and closed on Mondays. Call anytime at (905) 352-3322.
Medicine Wheel Natural Healing would like to thank everyone who came out to our Grand Opening on August 26th. We invite you to check out our videos from the days events and the picture gallery below! Thank you to all the vendors and participants in the day’s events.
Rob Stevenson, the owner of Medicine Wheel began the event by thanking everyone for coming out.
Brian Marquis is the President of the Ontario Indigenous Medical Cannabis Association then shared a few words.
In the second part of this video, Marquis explains the purpose and mission of the National Indigenous Medical Cannabis Association.
Kevin Shaganash rocked the day away, and kept the crowds entertained! Here he is with his hit song “Idle No More.”
Kevin Shaganash singing “Sweet Cedar Tea.”
Herbalist Lisa Messenger was on site to share her knowledge of herbal medicine. Messenger has been trained in both Western and Indigenous modalities of herbal medicine, and will be working with Medicine Wheel Natural Healing to help clients with a wider range of herbal remedies.
In this interview Rob explains why he started Medicine Wheel Natural Healing, and what he’s hoping to accomplish. Rob also discusses how his shop is giving back to the community, and describes the different medicinal cannabis products that are available at his store. This interview was conducted on June 21st, 2017 by Tom Keefer of Real People’s Media.
The revolution in natural Indigenous healing associated with the cannabis plant has taken another significant step forward. Readers may be familiar with the booming medical cannabis industry in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, where there has been an explosive growth of Indigenous run cannabis dispensaries.
That movement has inspired Rob Stevenson, an Anishinaabe man of the Bear Clan belonging to the Alderville First Nation, to launch his own business – the first Indigenous medical cannabis dispensary outside of Tyendinaga – on June 21, 2017.
Medicine Wheel Natural Healing offers a wide range of products. This includes an array of different cannabis flowers including sativa, indica, and many specialized hybrids. The store also has different kinds of shatter, rosin, oil, distillates, gummies, tinctures, syrups, and vape pens. They also have an assortment of different edibles.
Stevenson also wants to bring in other natural indigenous medicines such as bear grease to the store. As he puts it, “It’s all about being natural – and this is much more than just about cannabis – we want to be all encompassing about all natural health issues.”
Although the grand opening celebration and the party are yet to come (stay tuned for details), Stevenson did a ‘soft launch’ for the facility – located at 8986 County Road 45 Roseneath K0K 2X0 in Alderville First Nation – on June 21, 2017.
A family affair
The 21st of June is an auspicious day for Stevenson, not only because it is the summer solstice and National Aboriginal Day, but also because it is his birthday. The 37-year old’s tight knit family were present for the occasion, and are very supportive of his endeavour.
Rob’s mother Charlene works for a local woman’s shelter. She is proud of the work that her son is doing. With her daughter working as a physiotherapist, and with her son establishing the clinic, Charlene knows that her family is committed to helping their community to heal. As she puts it, Rob’s latest effort is about “healing the community and making us better as a whole – in mind, body, and spirit.”
Rob’s father Glen runs the family business, Stevenson Building Products, and has spent the last several months working with his son to completely renovate the new home of Medicine Wheel. Glen is also a big believer in his son’s cause.
Launching into an impassioned description of the benefits of the cannabis plant, Glen stated that, “sharing of knowledge and information is really what it’s all about. We’re coming out of the dark ages; cannabis has been suppressed for too long. I think if people take the time to research the plant, they will find that it provides huge benefits for human beings. Education and talking about it will take the stigma away.”
Glen added, “This plant should be respected. There are so many ways it can help people from making fiber, building products, plastics, etc. These are exciting times, to say the least.”
The results of Glen and Rob’s work in renovating the new facility is remarkable. The Medicine Wheel building is a brightly lit and spacious chalet with big windows and a decidedly clean and modern look and feel. The two main interior walls are made with dry stack Fusion Stone which gives the inside a natural feeling of protection and safety. The building itself has been carefully renovated to meet all security concerns. Indeed, aside from Tim Barnhart’s new headquarters for Legacy 420 in Tyendinaga, Medicine Wheel is hands down the best looking and most professional cannabis dispensary in ‘Indian country.’
Origins of the business
Stevenson has long had an interest in the cannabis plant and its healing properties. In the fall of 2016, he was in the process of establishing the Smoke Signals Seed Bank specializing in high-grade cannabis seeds.
Then Stevenson caught wind of what the Mohawks were doing in Tyendinaga. In January of 2017, Stevenson saw the invite to the founding meeting of the National Indigenous Medical Cannabis Association. Intrigued by the group’s mandate of encouraging “the self-regulation of the Indigenous Medical Cannabis Industry through the application of Indigenous political and economic principles,” he decided that he had to come and see for himself.
Because the Canadian government showed no willingness to consult Indigenous peoples about their upcoming proposals for cannabis legalization, NIMCA decided that it wouldn’t wait around for Canadian approval, and proceeded proactively on the basis of Indigenous rights.
Energized by meeting with some 40 other Indigenous people looking for ways that cannabis as a plant could benefit their communities, Stevenson became active with the group and was soon nominated to a position as the Ontario Vice President of the Indigenous Medical Cannabis Association.
In that role, Stevenson worked to distil some guidelines and best practices from dispensaries already operating in Tyendinaga and learned as much as he could from the Tyendinaga dispensary model pioneered by Tim Barnhart and Legacy 420.
Stevenson wants everything in his business to be above ground and legitimate. Coming from a lifetime of activity with a successful family construction business, and surrounded by a great group of highly motivated and talented employees from his community, Stevenson is hoping to create a model that other indigenous people can use in their medical cannabis efforts.
“Anyone else who opens up a dispensary on this reserve, or any other reserve, I’m glad to share any of my information here. I’m documenting everything I’ve done, from security and renovations to training employees, product education and all that stuff. I’m willing to share all this information at no cost with the people willing to do this. The reason being, I want to see this done right, and I don’t want dispensaries to be seen in a negative light because people are doing them wrong.”
Stevenson wants to see the industry grow, and he welcomes competition and even the growth of other dispensaries in his home community. “There’s more than enough for every single person in my community to find opportunities to benefit from this industry and all of its related domains,” points out Stevenson.
Stevenson is also making sure that his new business is a win-win operation for the community. He notes that “we’ve hired seven full-time employees that reside on this reserve. We’re also giving a percentage of our profits back directly to the community by supporting different events, and contributing towards our local woman’s shelter and youth groups.”
Before he opened the store, Stevenson made a PowerPoint presentation to his local Band Council outlining the framework under which he was operating. According to Stevenson, “I’ve had a good acknowledgment of what we’re doing by Chief and Council, they are very supportive of it. I made a presentation to them outlining everything we wanted to do, our practices and protocols, and it was met with a lot of respect from Band Council. I made them aware of a lot of the benefits of cannabis that people may not know about.”
Protocols and Procedures
Before a customer can buy any product, they must first go to Medicine Wheel’s “consultation counter.” At the counter, they meet with a staff person and are required to fill out a one-page form about their medical history and relationship to cannabis. After identifying their need for cannabis, customers are provided with a membership card. The card is scanned into the point-of-sale system with all purchases, and this allows Medicine Wheel and the customer to track and monitor their medical progress. This could result in either increasing dosage or changing strains or using different products altogether.
All medical materials are kept in the strictest confidence. The aim, as Rob Stevenson puts it, is to “keep records of customers and what conditions they may have. We work with customers in consultations and keep track of what the different effects of the different strains are.”
Medicine Wheel’s primary incentive is not profit but helping people. Aware that they are functioning in the era of a new information technology economy, Stevenson seeks to operate their store on the cutting edge of medical technology.
That means using the internet as a learning tool, and seeking out “the cannabis experts emerging from the underground” as Glen puts it. The keeping of medical data and records for their patients, and using that medical data to help people and to advance what to date is an understudied field of medical learning, is a key part of this practice.
Rob Stevenson drives the point home. “We’re trying to set the standard. We are trying to show that you don’t need to be greedy and hoard all kinds of money. Put it back in the community. You get much more satisfaction by giving back to the community. You get to help people – and you really can’t ask for more satisfaction than that.” The Medicine Wheel Healing Centre is located on Alderville First Nation 8986 county road 45 Roseneath K0K 2X0 just off of Highway 45, near the town of Roseneath. The Alderville First Nation is located on the south shore of Rice Lake. Peterborough is on the North side of the lake, Oshawa is to the west, and Coburg and Port Hope are due south on Highway 45. The store is open 11am-7pm, Tuesday through Sunday and closed on Mondays. Call anytime at (905) 352-3322.