Please disable your Ad Blocker to better interact with this website.

Native American Tribes Look Into Multi-Million Dollar Marijuana Production

Last year’s end saw a memo from the Department of Justice (DOJ) which granted Native American tribes the autonomy to grow and sell marijuana on their own lands, and while many tribes first exhibited caution owing to histories of drug and alcohol abuse, over 100 tribes have now shown interest in pursuing manufacturing operations in order to gain financial independence.

The Pinoleville Pomo Nation in California has already announced plans for a massive $10 million dollar, 2.5-acre facility to produce medical marijuana, which takes up only a small amount of space on the 99-acre tribal lands, Huffington Post reports. FoxBarry Farms is the lead contractor on the project, and CEO Barry Broutman states that the amount of interest from other tribes has been overwhelming.

“I really underestimated,” Broutman told The Huffington Post. “So many tribes are wanting to do this right now.”

What makes marijuana production particularly lucrative is that tribes might be able to avoid the incredibly high taxes placed on marijuana by states with legal marijuana like Colorado or Washington, but as a whole, regulatory status may be fraught with difficulties moving forward for tribes in California considering the cannabis industry, mostly because there is no state-level regulatory framework for marijuana. Instead, municipalities have mostly been left to create policies of their own.

“It’s going to be quite a battle for small farmers to hold onto the market,” Tim Blake, organizer of the cannabis growing competition Emerald Cup, told VICE News. “Look at the rest of agriculture in America, big agriculture is the reason why the small farmers are gone.”

However, dissenting voices from the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) cited an increase in the potency of marijuana over the last few decades as just one of the reasons why it opposes legalization at all levels of government. The NCAI is worried that the already high rates of drug abuse among Native Americans, compared to other ethnicities, will further skyrocket if tribes begin to produce marijuana, leading to a “reduction in IQ, mental illness, poor learning outcomes, drugged driving, lung damage, addiction and emergency room mentions related to acute panic attacks and psychotic episodes, and treatment entry.”

The federal government’s shift in enforcement priorities came about in early December, after Oregon U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall inquired about marijuana on tribal lands. Although the DOJ’s policy was issued on October 28, it wasn’t publicly released until mid-December, meaning that the status of marijuana on tribal lands is entirely up to tribal councils, so long as they refrain from selling to underage users and abide by other minor regulations. (RELATED: Native American Reservations Now Free To Legal Marijuana)

Many Native American tribes maintain that the ability to sell marijuana will help fund infrastructure and a variety of social programs, but the evidence is mixed when it comes to a similar high profit, vice industry: Casinos. According to economists, it’s not clear that casinos have contributed strongly to the well-being of Native Americans, and as of 2012, 1 in 4 Native Americans still lives in poverty.

Follow Jonah Bennett on Twitter

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.



 

Posting Policy

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse.

Trending Now on BarbWire.com

Send this to a friend