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Native Americans may start selling cannabis in New York soon

Aug 03, 2021 5:47 am

Rebecca C. Lewis reports for City and State that it has been a little over four months since New York legalized cannabis, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo has done virtually nothing to start retail sales. "The lawmakers and advocates who pushed for the law have been criticizing Gov. Andrew Cuomo for dragging his feet on setting up marijuana sales and cultivation regulations," Lewis writes. Native American tribes will likely beat the rest of the state to the first retail recreational cannabis sales in New York. That's because sovereign tribes were already free to legalize cannabis within their territories, but now that New York has officially made it legal throughout the state, it is easier for Native American tribes. The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, on the Canadian border, is on pace to start sales soon. The tribe does not need to wait for Cuomo to set up the Cannabis Control Board, as it has already established an entire regulatory structure within its jurisdiction to award licenses to tribal members and tribal businesses. The Shinnecock Indian Nation on Long Island has broken ground on a medical marijuana cultivation facility and is building a dispensary and wellness center, and expects to starts sales before the end of the year. The Onondaga Nation near Syracuse is reportedly not planning any cannabis business, and Western New York’s Seneca Nation of Indians has not publicly announced any plans. But the other tribes may have recreational sales in New York later this year. Read more about this story in City and State.