The state of New York still has a long way to go before it allows the legal selling of adult-use recreational cannabis in the state. With New York state officials still establishing a series of regulations with Cannabis sales as well as its problems with licensing, a number of businesses operated by Native Americans have already started selling marijuana for adult use.
Although New York has already legalized recreational cannabis use, retail marijuana sales in the state are yet to be done. The New York Upstate notes that licensing for large businesses may not even happen until 2023.
In line with this, there are already a number of small Upstate towns and villages that have already started selling cannabis, and these are all operated by Native American nations, reports Don Cazentre from the New York Upstate.
Among these locations Upstate include Cayuga County, Hogansburg, Kill Buck, and Union Springs. All of these are places where individuals can purchase recreational marijuana legally. In addition, the St. Regis Mohawk has also joined the roster of Native Americans selling recreational cannabis sales of the drug.
The selling of recreational marijuana on tribal lands has been called by the New York Times a “legal gray area.” New York State authorities have yet to interfere with these operations, with the news site saying that these businesses can proceed to operate legally on sovereign tribal lands as they are recognized federally.
Individuals who choose to purchase their marijuana directly from these Indian nations are permitted to do so, provided that they possess no more than three ounces on them at any given time, as is under the current state law, emphasizes the New York Upstate.
In a statement, the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) said through its spokesman, Freeman Klopott, that tribal sales are indeed legal. “Dispensaries (marijuana shops) are legal if they are on federally recognized, sovereign tribal land.”
Klopott also mentioned that the Office of Cannabis Management “has the ability to enter into agreements with tribes through tribal compacts to integrate them into the state program if all parties can agree to terms.” However, the New York Upstate shares that as of writing, there are still no agreements between the parties and tribes involved.
Indian Nations and Legal Cannabis Sales
The first to sell legal weed to customers were the Akwesasne Mohawks who reside near Hogansburg in Franklin County. The council of Akwesasne Mohawks formally provided its own rules and allowed shops to sell weed last July 2021. Most of the tribe shops are selling tinctures, edible gummies, and marijuana joints.
Meanwhile, the Cayuga Nation also joined the roster. It sells marijuana items at the Lakeside Trading business in Union Springs, reveals Auburn Pub. According to the news site, although the Cannabis Control Board under the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act still needs to approve licensing for the Cayuga operations, tribal sovereignty remains supreme, allowing them to operate in the area.
While Union Springs has opted out of marijuana sales in the region under state law, the village board has reportedly allowed Lakeside Trading to be the only shop to sell marijuana in the area.