The Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe of Nevada and Oregon announced in a press release that it will enter into the Medical Marijuana marketplace.
The Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe of Nevada and Oregon announced in a press release that it will enter into the Medical Marijuana marketplace.
The Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe of Nevada and Oregon announced in a press release that it will enter into the Medical Marijuana marketplace.

Currently, there are no plans for a dispensary on the reservation, according to Tildon Smart, chairman of the Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe. There will only be an indoor growing facility one mile south of the reservation’s Red Mountain Travel Plaza, Smart said. It will exclusively supply the medical marijuana market, accordng to the press release.

In Dec., 2014, the US Department of Justice suggested in a memo that sovereign tribes could grow and sell marijuana on their lands, provided they adhere to the same federal guidelines laid out for states that have legalized the drug (see list, last paragraph). Since then, several tribes have started to grow the drug, while others, like the Flandreau Santee Sioux in South Dakota, are building pot lounges styled after Amsterdam coffee houses in hopes of attracting tourism.

Smart said the decision was made after a year’s worth of serious consideration and countless emotional discussions among community leaders and expert consultants.

“We see this endeavor as a path to economic opportunity through the production of earth-grown medicine that studies have shown is improving the lives of people afflicted with often debilitating health conditions,” Smart said. “At the foundation of this move is the rare prospect of the Tribe’s economic self-reliance by way of harvesting a natural healing agent we can make available to those in need.”

With this decision, the Tribe expects that in its initial phase of operations, the facility will create 15 to 20 jobs. Smart hopes the facility will grow, creating even more job opportunities, as the market for medical marijuana grows.

In the press release, Smart stated, “The Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone are not blessed with many economic opportunities to serve our members and the greater community. We must seize every legal opportunity available to the Tribe to bring jobs, services and economic security to the greater community while lessening our dependence upon the Federal government.”

The Tribe’s decision to join the Medical Marijuana Marketplace is only the first step of the process. At the moment, the Tribe is focused on consulting closely with the US Attorney’s Office in Nevada and the Department of Justice in order to ensure compliance with state and federal policies, Smart said.

The next step for the Tribe will be to create building plans and set up distribution channels. The hope is to have a growing facility comparable to those found in other US medical marijuana facilities, Smart said.

Smart expects the facility to be up and running by late 2016.

In Northern California, several tribal grow operations have been raided, with investigations ongoing. According to a 2013 memo (1.usa.gov/1da7ofM), US attorneys may presecute in states that have legalized pot where they suspect an operation is distributing to minors or states where pot is illegal; funding crime; fronting for illegal trafficking; using violence or firearms; promoting drugged driving; growing on public lands; or promoting possession on federal property.

Henry Kingman contributed to this report.