Native American tribes capitalize on cannabis

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Native American tribes in Nevada are expanding beyond casinos and venturing into the cannabis industry. In June, Governor Brian Sandoval signed Senate Bill 375 and Senate Bill 396, which allow Nevada's Native American tribes to directly negotiate with the state over the use and sale of medicinal marijuana on tribal lands.

Nevada Native American tribes like the Yerington Paiute Tribe, the Ely Shoshone Tribe, and the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe formed an agreement with the State of Nevada that allows them to grow cannabis, produce concentrates and edibles, perform lab-testing, and dispense marijuana products to customers.

In 2016, the Las Vegas Paiute held a ceremony on Snow Mountain Indian Reserve to bless the site of one of the largest ganja cultivation and processing organizations with at least two dispensaries and three greenhouses on a 15,000-square foot facility that will be called the Nu Wu Cannabis Marketplace.

While the Nevada government enacts hefty taxes on marijuana sales, some Native American tribes are looking to amend tribal laws that may lead to tax-free cannabis. How is this possible? The U.S. Supreme court recognizes tribal sovereignty, which allows the Native American people to self-govern. Though individuals are responsible for federal income taxes as U.S. citizens, tribes are not subject to federal income taxes on their earnings and can form business corporations to keep their income exempt.

Tribal Cannabis Consulting specializes in Native American cannabis policy and established the first cannabis compact which allowed tribal and state governments to establish business agreements signed by Nevada’s governor. The firm aims to expand Native American economic presence in the marijuana marketplace and helps tribes create their own regulatory codes for matters like issuing medical marijuana cards.

Together, tribes and the state government are working to develop a governing system that will outline and enforce marijuana cultivation and sale on Native American Land and establish a universal agreement that will keep dispensaries in accordance with their state and federal laws.