Pubdate: Sun, 20 Dec 2015
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2015 Associated Press


PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Members of the Confederated Tribes of Warm 
Springs have approved a plan to build a facility to grow marijuana on 
their reservation in central Oregon and to sell it at tribe-owned 
stores outside the reservation.

The tribes are among the first in the country to enter the 
marijuana-growing business, a year after a Department of Justice 
policy indicated tribes could grow and sell marijuana under the same 
guidelines as states that opt to legalize.

Tribal officials said more than 80 percent of tribal voters favored 
the proposal in the referendum, which was held Thursday.

Warm Springs's plan is to build a 36,000-square-foot greenhouse to 
grow and process the cannabis. Officials expect the project will 
create more than 80 jobs. Annual net revenue from the three proposed 
tribe-owned retail shops would top $26 million, the officials estimated.

The tribes say they will enter into an agreement with state agencies 
to ensure that testing and other regulations are consistent with 
state law. Sales are set to start in winter 2016.

"Our main purpose is to create jobs on the reservation and produce 
revenue for the tribes," said Don Sampson of the tribes' economic 
development corporation. "We think we will have a model other tribes 
will look to as they investigate this business and industry."

The proposal does not change the tribal law that bans marijuana 
possession on the reservation, which is about 90 miles southeast of Portland.

In November 2014, Oregon voters approved Measure 91, which legalized 
recreational marijuana. But legal sales are not expected to begin until 2016.

Many tribes have opposed legalization and marijuana sales because of 
the potential to compound alcohol and drug problems on reservations. 
Some tribes banned marijuana outright.

But at least a half-dozen tribes this year have legalized marijuana 
on their reservations or have pursued marijuana projects.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom