New York Marijuana Dispensaries Open on Tribal Lands
Indeed, not everyone here approves of new businesses: St. Regis Tribal Government maintains that dispensaries operate outside reserve laws and steal essential income from the tribe from licensing and sales fees, which underpin essential services including education, health care and public safety .
Internal conflicts in the reserve have become so intense that the tribal chiefs have sued in tribal court, after giving rogue dispensaries 48 hours to shut down or risk being disqualified from any future permits. Dispensaries defiantly refused: more shops have opened and many pottery shops on the reserve now have signs on their doors warning that tribal compliance officers are not welcome and will be charged with trespassing.
Such an attitude has done little to ease tensions between tribal officials and clinics.
“They are thinking of themselves and not of the community as a whole,” said Chief Ronald LaFrance Jr., one of the three Chiefs of St. Regis, adding: “And that is my concern, the loss of income for the tribe. “
Marijuana is still illegal in the eyes of the US government, but it has been legalized for adult recreational use in 18 states, according to the Drug Policy Alliance, and for medical use in more than 30. And in recent years, dispensaries have opened their doors on tribal lands across the country, in states, including Nevada, Washington and Michigan; in New York, the Long Island Shinnecocks are take steps to enter the market, as did the Senecas on the western flank of the state.
For their part, New York State officials appear to take a hands-off approach to early entrepreneurs on the St. Regis reserve, noting that such ventures are legal on recognized sovereign tribal lands. by the federal government.
With state regulations still a long way from being codified and the tribal government so far unable to stop the spread of stores, St. Regis dispensaries operate both in a legal gray area and with a sense of d emergency that did not seem to be felt until recently in Albany.