Cory Brewer, owner of Tupa’s Joint in downtown Vernon, takes part in a smudging ceremony as part of the Indigenous health and wellness store’s grand opening Saturday, May 23, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

Syilx Nation cannabis store holds grand opening in Vernon

Tupa’s Joint offers Indigenous cannabis products along with traditional First Nations medicines

The grand opening of Tupa’s Joint in downtown Vernon looked different than that of most other cannabis dispensaries, commencing with an Elder-led prayer, a drumming performance and a traditional smudging ceremony.

In this respect, the opening on Saturday, May 23, was suggestive of how the Indigenous Health and Wellness Store plans to set itself apart in a growing local cannabis market — one that saw another dispensary open on the same day.

Located on 28th Avenue, Tupa’s Joint offers Indigenous cannabis and hemp products alongside traditional First Nations medicines produced by members of the Syilx Nation and other First Nations from around Canada.

“What’s unique is the traditional and cultural aspect of everything that we have going on, including our medicines,” said owner Cory Brewer, a member of the Okanagan Indian Band,

“We consider CBD and THC a medicine, and we’re using it to enhance other First Nations medicines as well, which hasn’t been done.”

The mission statement of Tupa’s Joint is implied in the name; in Syilx language, Tupa means “great-grandmother.” The store’s mission is in part to incorporate ancestral knowledge in its business.

READ MORE: B.C. liquor, cannabis sales up in March, now levelled off to seasonal norms

“Tupa’s Joint recognizes the ceremonial and medicinal significance of cannabis and hemp, the reason for the pride in being able to provide Indigenous medicines that are a source of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual healing to all people,” Brewer wrote in a welcome message prior to the opening.

“This is just the start of something very big and we are all very excited,” Brewer said on Saturday. “We’re going about this in a different way than most dispensaries.”

The store’s second level is currently an empty room and kitchen — but it won’t be for long. Brewer said the floor will be transformed into a space for Syilx language classes, health and wellness and cannabis cooking classes run by staff who have been studying up on the culinary possibilities of cannabis.

“Nobody has anything like this. We’re pretty much the first to take it in this direction.”

While the middle of a pandemic would seem to be an untimely circumstance for opening a business, Brewer says that hasn’t been the case.

“It’s been more of a push because things are shutting down everywhere and right now we’re one of the main employers of our band members,” he said. Tupa’s Joint has close to 20 staff members currently and plans to add more.

“We’re also employing our Elders, they’ll be signing people in at the front.”

Tupa’s Joint is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., closing an hour earlier on Sundays.

READ MORE: Downtown Vernon cannabis outlet readies for opening


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

cannabis

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Advance polling saw nearly 10,000 votes cast in Vernon-Monashee. Pictured: Schubert Centre. (Jennifer Smith - Vernon Morning Star)
BC VOTES 2020: Live results roll in for Vernon-Monashee race

That’s a wrap on voting in the provincial 2020 election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

Predator Ridge Resort has announced plans to add a new outdoor skating rink this winter. The facility is expected to open Dec. 7, 2020. (Contributed)
Outdoor skating rink coming to Vernon’s Predator Ridge

The facility is touted as the first private refrigerated skating rink in the Okanagan

West Kelowna Warriors goaltender Roman Basran stood tall in a 4-3 shootout victory over the Vernon Vipers Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. (Lisa Mazurek Photography)
Vernon Vipers fall to West Kelowna Warriors in shootout

Kelowna Rockets goalie Roman Basran helped the warriors to a 4-3 SO win Friday night.

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Voters are saying they felt safe voting in person despite the current pandemic. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Central Okanagan voters talk about their pandemic election experience

Despite an election taking place during COVID-19, residents said they felt safe voting in person

Efforts to replace the aging Rutland Middle School have been put off by another year by the ministry of education. (File photo)
Education ministry won’t replace Central Okanagan school anytime soon

New Westside Secondary top priority for ministry of education

Thanks to efforts by a Kelowna shelter and Elections BC, anyone who wishes to can vote in the 2020 BC Provincial Election, even if they don’t have a fixed address. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Kelowna group ensures people experiencing homelessness can vote

Shelter supervisor says voting ‘a fundamental right’ even for those without a fixed address

(Big White Ski Resort photo)
Big White receives 21 cm of snow in 24 hours

Resort’s snow base 41 cm deep, one month until opening day

The deer were allegedly shot within Princeton town limits, late at night. Black Press File Photo.
Armed man, in full camouflage, allegedly shoots deer in downtown Princeton

‘The list of charges goes on and on,’ said RCMP Sgt. Rob Hughes

Most Read