Ever since the Wilkinson Memorandum issued in late 2014 opened the door to Native American tribes to enter the cannabis industry, several have announced plans to do so. As we discussed last month, there have been some challenges, but two tribes in Washington are succeeding. Indian Country reported on the progress from the Squaxin Island Tribe and the Suquamish, both of which have signed a compact with the State of Washington.
Because the Suquamish Tribe is sovereign and self-governing, it did not have to compact with the state. But it chose to do so, because of the rules the state had developed with U.S. Justice Department guidance. “We wanted to make sure we were close to Department of Justice guidelines,” (Suquamish Chairman Leonard) Forsman said.
It would appear that the two tribes, which signed a 10-year agreement with the state, reduced their risk of a challenge from the federal government. The safe path, then, is to operate in states where cannabis has been legalized and where there is a regulatory framework consistent with the Cole Memorandum issued in 2013.
Read Richard Walker’s “Let It Be Pot: Two Washington State Tribes on Board”: http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2015/12/02/let-it-be-pot-two-washington-state-tribes-board-162613