AKWESASNE (WWNY) – Law has caught up with reality.
Months after shops began selling marijuana on Akwesasne, the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe – which governs the American side of the territory – has adopted an ordinance governing its use.
Tribal officials say the move is historic because it’s the first adult-use cannabis law adopted by a tribe in New York state and is the first in the country that licenses tribal members and tribal member-owned businesses.
The law takes effect immediately.
“It would have been easier to follow the practice of other tribes and made this a tribally owned business, but we have and will continue to support the entrepreneurs in our community,” Tribal Chief Michael Conners said in a release.
Under U.S. federal guidelines, the tribe had to wait until New York legalized adult-use marijuana before it could its own law. Some people couldn’t wait.
“We know that a handful of tribal members have prematurely opened, this is an issue we are working through and are seeking to resolve,” Tribal Chief Eric Thompson said. “We appreciate those entrepreneurs who have been patient and who know that tribal processes must be followed to ensure the regulations are completed in a responsible manner with community input.”
The tribe issued a cease-and-desist order to those businesses that didn’t wait.
The new law allows tribal members and their families to have up to 12 cannabis plants and the tribe has begun to accept applications for licenses for retail sales and cultivation.
Marijuana retail sales are already legal on the Canadian side of Akwesasne.
Copyright 2021 WWNY. All rights reserved.