Tribes Frustrated at Being Locked out of California Cannabis Market
This story was originally published by POLITICO California Pro on 7/17/2019
California’s marijuana legalization was supposed to provide economic justice to communities most affected by drug laws in the past, but Native American tribes that have suffered say the state is unfairly shutting them out of its nascent cannabis trade.
Tribes want the state to establish compacts, similar to gaming deals, that would allow them to sell cannabis grown on tribal lands to the broader California market. Under such arrangements, tribes would agree to regulations similar to those established under Proposition 64 and provide tax revenue to the state for products sold off-reservation.
But tribal leaders say they’ve been ignored by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration despite months of trying to get the state to engage on cannabis compacts. Their frustration spilled over last month at a state workshop in Los Angeles where the California Native American Cannabis Association gave an hour-long presentation criticizing the state that ended with Bureau of Cannabis Control Chief Lori Ajax visibly angry.