Pubdate: Wed, 02 Mar 2016
Source: Albuquerque Journal (NM)
Copyright: 2016 Albuquerque Journal
Author: Olivier Uyttebrouck


NM Medical Pot Producer, Nev. Tribe to Build Growing Facility Near Vegas

A New Mexico medical cannabis producer this week announced a joint 
venture with the Las Vegas Paiute tribe to build a large growing 
facility and two dispensaries on tribal land in Nevada.

Duke Rodriguez, founder of Ultra Health LLC, said the $5 million 
project could serve as a model for a similar deal in coming months 
with a pueblo in New Mexico.

One of the two planned Nevada dispensaries will be located on a 
31-acre parcel of Paiute land in downtown Las Vegas, where the tribe 
now operates a cigarette retail business and minimart, tribal and 
Ultra Health leaders said after a news conference in Las Vegas.

The second dispensary, and a greenhouse complex capable of producing 
12,000 pounds of cannabis a year, will be located on the tribe's Snow 
Mountain reservation about 25 miles northwest of Las Vegas. The tribe 
now operates the Snow Mountain Paiute Golf Resort and a smoke shop at the site.

"It's going to be huge for our tribe," Benny Tso, Las Vegas Paiute 
tribal chairman, said Monday after the press conference where the 
deal was announced. "I think it's going to benefit the tribe and 
Ultra Health at the same time."

Ultra Health, which operates a growing facility in Bernalillo and 
four dispensaries in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Hobbs, remains in 
negotiations with "a good number of the pueblos" in New Mexico about 
a similar joint venture here.

"We're hopeful that we can announce a deal in New Mexico, certainly 
within the next 90 days" with one of the state's 23 pueblos, 
Rodriguez said. Any agreement likely will include both a growing 
facility and dispensaries on tribal land, he said. He declined to say 
which pueblos are negotiating with Ultra Health. Rodriguez said he 
also expects to announce a similar deal this year with a California tribe.

When completed later this year, the Snow Mountain facility will be 
among the largest legal cannabis growing operations in the United 
States, producing about 4,000 plants at a time, Rodriguez said.

The two dispensaries will be located next to successful smoke shops 
now operated by the tribe. A 4,000-square-foot dispensary will be 
located on the Paiute's retail complex in Las Vegas, just off the 
Vegas strip, he said.

Rodriguez said the enterprise will benefit from the city's thriving 
tourism industry, which attracts an estimated 43 million visitors a year.

The Nevada enterprise will show tribes across the country that they 
can benefit from the cannabis industry, he predicted, "especially for 
tribes that never got to participate in a gaming opportunity because 
they didn't have the capital, or they didn't have the ideal 
location." Tribes have land, water, retail expertise and other 
advantages that make them well positioned for the industry, he said. 
"Imagine the amazing logistical network that tribes have with their 
smoke shops," he said. "Imagine all those smoke shops becoming 
(cannabis) dispensaries someday."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom