Former tribal chairman joins marijuana company


By Jessica Holdman, The Bismarck Tribune

Former MHA Nation Tribal Chairman Tex Hall has joined a company focused on producing marijuana on reservations.

Native American Organics LLC will help tribes who want to enter the marijuana products industry set up legal growing and distribution systems. The company is a partnership between Hall’s Red Tipped Arrow LLC and Wright Family Organics LLC, a California-based medical marijuana research and operations company.

The company will work on regulation and compliance issues with tribes located in states where medical and recreational marijuana is legal, helping to break down barriers to entry. It will help tribes make law governing the industry on their reservations.

In December, the U.S. Department of Justice extended marijuana legalization rights to tribal governments and, earlier this month, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill allowing agreements with tribes related to marijuana regulation.

“Throughout my career, I have fought for advancement and sovereignty of Indian tribes,” Hall said in a statement. “And a lot of that time was focused on economic development because that is what our people need and deserve. As the legal and practical questions surrounding the participation of Indian tribes in the market continue to be settled, there is no doubt in my mind that tribes have a competitive advantage when it comes to cannabis production, processing and sale.”

Hall said revenues for the legal marijuana industry have reached $11 billion and are projected to reach $30 billion in the next four years.

“What really made an impact on me was the potential that cannabis has for healing and easing the pain of our people who suffer from PTSD across Indian Country. Not least among those who suffer are our veterans,” Hall said.

North Dakota tribes would not be among those eligible for Native American Organics’ services as marijuana use has not been legalized in the state. Though tribes do have the authority to produce on reservations, Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault has said the tribe would be unable to transport the product off the reservation to sell.


Grow Their Own! California Tribe Will Grow Medical Marijuana on Tribal Land

Associated PressThe Pinoleville Pomo Nation in California plans to grow and manufacture medical marijuana.
Associated Press
The Pinoleville Pomo Nation in California plans to grow and manufacture medical marijuana.


The Pinoleville Pomo Nation in northern California’s Mendocino County is set to be the first tribe to grow and manufacture medical marijuana on tribal land.

The tribe has inked a deal to develop an indoors grow facility on its rancheria north of Ukiah.

“We anticipate construction to begin in early February, and operations to commence by the end of the month,” Barry Brautman, president of FoxBarry Development Company, LLC, told Indian Country Today Media Network.

FoxBarry Farms—a subsidiary of the Kansas-based firm, which partners with tribes on economic development projects ranging from farms to casinos—will help develop the “state-of-the-art greenhouses, as well as processing and office space,” Brautman said.

FoxBarry will additionally manage distribution of the medical marijuana and related products in the state. “Our first phase will include 90,000 feet of greenhouse space, and another 20,000 feet of indoor space,” Brautman said.

The operation will sell marijuana only for authorized medical users and dispensaries in accordance with California state law. Many anticipate California to join at least four other states in legalizing recreational use of marijuana next year.

FoxBarry has pledged $30 million to develop at least three medical marijuana facilities on tribal lands in northern, central and southern California. Brautman noted that FoxBarry has reached terms with one other Indian Nation, though he declined to identify the tribe at this time.

“Documentation is nearly complete,” Brautman said. “I anticipate that the operations for that tribe is 30-to-45 days behind Pinoleville.”

Colorado-based United Cannabis will offer consulting services to the FoxBarry-managed medical marijuana farms, particularly related to cultivation, harvesting, processing and sales of medical marijuana and medical marijuana-infused products. Under the licensing agreement, United Cannabis will receive $200,000 in prepaid royalties and 15 percent of net sales. In return, FoxBarry will have exclusive distribution rights to United Cannabis products in California.

“The project will be producing the full range of medical marijuana and medical marijuana-infused products under the licensing agreement with United Cannabis,” which will include leaves, flowers, hash, hash oil, medicinal pills, medicinal liquids/oils, and much more, Brautman said.

The products will contain various levels of the psychoactive ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and the non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD). “This includes many ‘inactive’ products,” he added.

While CBD has been widely touted for its medicinal benefits, particularly in reducing symptoms of intractable epilepsy, pot strains with higher levels of THC have proven effective in controlling the symptoms of autism in some children by stimulating brain cell signaling and reducing certain dysfunctions, reported the San Francisco Gate.

United Cannabis is also a supplier of the marijuana-derived Prana Bio Nutrient Medicinals, available in oil and pill form in micro doses. The medicine seeks to target patient aliments related to the central nervous system or the immune system, respectively.

Hemp—the non-psychoactive cannabis that can be used to make more than 25,000 products ranging from clothing to dynamite — may come into play in the future.

“We are talking with several tribes about industrial hemp, although our main priority is getting our grow op projects open and online,” Brautman said.

RELATED: What Does Marijuana Memo Mean for Hemp Production and Traditional Uses?



Ukiah Pomos to establish state’s first tribal pot operation

By Glenda Anderson, The Press Democrat

A Ukiah Indian rancheria will soon be the site of what is likely California’s first tribe-sanctioned, large-scale indoor medical marijuana cultivation and distribution operation.

The 250-member Pinoleville Pomo Nation revealed Thursday it has entered into a contract with Colorado-based United Cannabis and Kansas-based FoxBarry Farms to grow thousands of marijuana plants on its 99-acre rancheria just north of Ukiah.

It’s the first of three such operations planned in California by United Cannabis and FoxBarry, a sign that marijuana cultivation is making headway in its voyage from being an illegal backwoods venture to a mainstream business. The locations of the other two have yet to be revealed.

Construction on a 2.5-acre indoor marijuana-growing facility will begin within a month and operations are expected to be underway in February, according to a spokesman for the tribe.

“We are very excited about the relationship with United Cannabis and FoxBarry,” said Michael Canales, president of the tribe’s business board.

FoxBarry Farms, which also invests in and manages tribal casinos, will fund and operate the facility on the rancheria, Canales said. The tribe also owns 100 acres near Ukiah High School but only the rancheria is held in federal trust, which renders it largely free of local regulations. The tribe is seeking trust status for the additional 100 acres, Canales said. It also owns several acres on North State Street, north of Ukiah, where it is planning to build a casino.

No dispensary plans

FoxBarry’s president, Barry Brautman, said he’s not certain how many plants will be grown at the new cannabis facility but expects there to be “thousands” growing year-round.

“We’re harvesting every day. Everything’s on a big rotation,” he said.

The marijuana grown on the rancheria will be distributed only to medical marijuana card-holding members and dispensaries, in keeping with state law, Brautman said.

“Our business model involves doing everything legally and by the book,” he said.

There currently is no plan for a dispensary at the site, Brautman said.

The 110,000-square-foot facility will cost about $10 million to build and will employ 50 to 100 people, most of them local residents, he said.

“There are a lot of people who know what they’re doing in this county” when it comes to marijuana cultivation, Brautman noted.

The workforce also will include security guards to patrol the fenced facility, Brautman said.

The Pinoleville facility will be growing award-winning, brand-name pot developed by United Cannabis, a marijuana research and development company, Brautman said.

“The vast research and science behind their development are what differentiate us from everyone else in this business,” he said.

Deal been in works

United Cannabis and FoxBarry recently entered an agreement under which FoxBarry will exclusively distribute United Cannabis branded marijuana products in California, he said.

The partnership with the tribe follows a U.S. Department of Justice announcement last month that tribes — which are sovereign nations — have the authority to legalize marijuana on lands that are held for them in federal trust. But the deal has been in the works for much longer, about a year, Brautman said.

He said FoxBarry’s attorneys already believed that tribes had the authority to set up such operations. The Justice Department’s statement confirmed their opinions, he said.

“Those laws and interpretations are not new,” Brautman said.

Ukiah Police Chief Chris Dewey said Thursday that he doesn’t know any of the specifics of the project but has some concerns in general about marijuana-growing operations.

“My most important issue would be that we safeguard people. We’ve had a number of home-invasion robberies in our valley,” he noted.

Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman could not be reached Thursday for comment.

Marijuana: menace, medicine or moneymaker? Tulalip tribal leaders hold community meeting on the decriminalization of marijuana

By Andrew Gobin, Tulalip News

With the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in Washington State an ongoing discussion has emerged on the Tulalip Indian reservation about how the law will affect the Tulalip Tribes, if at all. Currently, marijuana remains illegal on the reservation in all forms, in accordance with federal policy. More than 100 people attended a community meeting on May 16, urging Tulalip to review its stance on marijuana, and consider whether the financial and medical benefits outweigh the potential risks that could jeopardize the tribes’ relationship with the federal government. A panel of experts made presentations at the meeting, speaking about the pros and cons associated with marijuana. The experts were; former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper, a proponent for legalizing or decriminalizing, and Officer Patrick Slack of the Snohomish County Drug Task Force, who gave a testimony to the use of marijuana in our community today.

“I do subscribe to the idea that the reefer madness propaganda of the 1930s created an unnecessary fear of marijuana,” began Norm Stamper, giving a brief historical overview of marijuana in America.

He said, “Marijuana prohibition has, in my view, done more harm than good. It causes more crime. Anyone who traffics in marijuana is a criminal, anyone who buys it is a criminal, and anyone who grows it. Sellers will arm themselves to protect their investments. We force people to seek out dealers, and they won’t card, they will sell to children. All too often they sell marijuana laced with harder drugs to cultivate a future customer. If it is legal, it can be controlled. We can regulate it, sell it, and use the money to fight it.”

That idea was well received at the meeting, as people spoke highlighting other drugs that plague the Tulalip community.

“It helps people stay away from that other stuff [meth and heroin]. We have a store out here, if we sell it we would have more money to treat other people that are on that stuff,” said tribal member Richard Jones.

An overwhelming majority of people in attendance echoed the potential use of marijuana as a safer means for addicts to get clean and stay clean, as well as the medical benefits marijuana users enjoy.

Patrick Slack did not take a stance on the matter, though he shared his experience with marijuana through his years on the police force which gave great insight to the history of marijuana culture and what it has become today.

He said, “There are many cannabinoids in marijuana that are beneficial. In my experience, most people smoke marijuana for the psychoactive experience, not the health benefits. Tetrahydrocannabinol, THC, is the psychoactive cannabinoid that gives users that signature euphoria from marijuana consumption.”

Historically, the THC in marijuana averaged less than two percent. According to Slack, what is being taken off the streets today ranges between twenty percent up to the mid-thirties. Something becoming more prevalent today is hash oil; also called dabs or budder. Through a reduction process using butane or octane (gasoline), people can pull more of the THC out of marijuana.

“The hash oil averages about ninety percent pure THC. It gets you very high, very fast, and is potentially dangerous to use because the effects last longer,” Slack explained.

Tulalip councilman Marlin Fryberg Jr. said, “For me as a leader, who looks out for the youth? That’s my responsibility. If legalizing marijuana will have a negative impact on them, then I can’t support it.”

Stamper noted, “People like Richard Nixon, JFK, Bill Gates, even Barack Obama have tried marijuana. Those people, had they been caught as a result of their youthful indiscretions, as Nixon called it, would not have enjoyed the careers they did, and we would not be enjoying the benefits of their success.”

Slack addressed the difference of underage use today than in Nixon’s time, and the implication from Initiative 502, the ballot measure that legalized marijuana for recreational use in Washington State.

“I502 makes the consumption marijuana illegal to persons under the age of 21, specifying that there is no tolerance for underage consumption. That means if you are driving and you get stopped, if you are suspected of marijuana use, and you are underage, then you will be subject to a blood test. If cannabinoids are found in your blood, you are guilty of a DUI (Driving Under the Influence), whether or not you are under the legal limit of five nanograms. That’s a felony. And today, that limits your ability to get scholarships, go to college, and get a job.”

The legalization of marijuana is a tumultuous issue that has many potential ripple effects for tribes which would extend far beyond the business and moral aspects, should they choose to legalize. For Tulalip tribal leaders, they are torn on the issue.

Tulalip tribal councilwoman Theresa Sheldon said, “Our grants require us to be in compliance with federal policy. NAHASDA (The Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act) for example explicitly says that the tribe’s program must comply with the all federal policies; that includes policies regarding drugs. Marijuana is still classified as a schedule 1 controlled substance at the federal level. It is unclear how legalization will affect our programs, but it is something that we need to understand fully before we proceed.”

“When it comes to medical marijuana, I am there,” said councilman Fryberg. “I’ve done a lot of research, and it took me some convincing, but I’m there. I don’t support the recreational use, though, and I don’t know that I ever will.”

Whether tribes decriminalize or legalize, the decision will have federal implications. The community and some tribal leaders seem to agree though, that the time has come to recognize marijuana as a medicine. What that means for regulation remains to be seen.


Andrew Gobin is a staff reporter with the Tulalip News See-Yaht-Sub, a publication of the Tulalip Tribes Communications Department.
Phone: (360) 716.4188

Washington Legislature Adjourns With No Action On Medical Marijuana, Gas Tax

The floor of the Washington Senate on the last night of the 60-day sessionCredit Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

The floor of the Washington Senate on the last night of the 60-day session
Credit Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network


By Austin Jenkins, NW News Network

The Washington legislature adjourned its 60-day session just before midnight Thursday night.

In the final hours, lawmakers passed a bipartisan update to the state’s two-year budget. They also sent the governor a bill to give military veterans in-state tuition to attend college. And reauthorized a fee that pays for homeless housing.

But it’s what lawmakers did not do this legislative session that may stand out most for voters.

No gas tax increase

One major item lawmakers could not agree on — a gas tax increase to fund road projects and transit. It’s something Governor Jay Inslee has pushed for since taking office.

As the legislative session wound down, the blame game was just winding up.

“It’s obvious to me that over the last month the leadership in the House and the leadership in the Democratic side of the Senate were not interested in getting a revenue package out of the session,” said Republican Curtis King, co-chair of the Senate Transportation Committee.

Not so, responded Democrat Judy Clibborn, chairs of the House Transportation Committee. She blamed the Senate majority for not producing a gas tax package that could pass out of its own chamber.

“I am frustrated as anybody,” said Clibborn. “We worked very hard to get this done. It’s been a year-and-a-half to two years for me.”

A $40 million penalty?

Item number two on the did-not-pass list: a requirement that school districts use a federally-approved student test for any teacher evaluation. Why does this matter? U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has told Governor Inslee without this requirement Washington could lose its federal No Child Left Behind waiver. And with it control of $40 million in federal funds to help struggling students.

House Democratic Leader Pat Sullivan called the testing mandate flawed and said he’s prepared to pay the penalty.

“So be it,” he said. “If Arne Duncan wants to withhold 20 percent of funds from our poorest schools then I guess that’s his prerogative.”

Out in the Capitol Rotunda, State Schools Superintendent Randy Dorn was incensed at the bill’s demise.

“Adults not doing what’s right for kids,” he said.

Dorn blames the state’s teachers union for killing the bill.

Separate pot markets

Item number three on the did-not-pass list: a plan to roll Washington’s medical marijuana market into the state’s new, recreational pot marketplace. Republican State Senator Ann Rivers, one of the lead proponents of this merger, says Washington’s current unregulated medical marijuana industry is an invitation for federal intervention.

“We’re not showing a good faith effort to get it under control so the feds have nothing to judge us by.”

But Democrat Roger Goodman in the Washington House believes it was premature to change the medical marijuana system and it would have hurt patients. He wants to wait a year and isn’t worried about the feds sweeping in.

“They’re watching closely, we’re listening carefully,” says Goodman. “I think the chances of federal intervention are limited particularly as we show to them and continue to communicate with them that we’re working on it in advance of the next legislative session.”

So what else died in the Washington legislature this year? Dueling proposals on the minimum wage. A tax on e-cigarettes. And a ban on gay conversion therapy.

But the past 60-days in Olympia also featured some surprising bipartisan breakthroughs. A big one: undocumented students won access to state financial aid to attend college. But there’s no guarantee they’ll get that money because the program is already underfunded.

Much of this session was about the fall elections ahead. Control of the Washington Senate looks like it’s up for grabs for the first time in a decade.

Oglala Sioux Tribe considers putting legalized pot to vote


February 10 2014


PINE RIDGE, S.D. (AP) – An Oglala Sioux tribal committee has started a process that could allow a public vote on whether to legalize marijuana use on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

The tribal council’s business development committee approved the measure last week, and the full tribal council soon could approve a public vote, councilman Kevin Yellow Bird Steele told the Rapid City Journal.

Council members say they are considering marijuana’s medical uses, and some argued that it could ease the dependency of tribal members on powerful prescription painkillers.

“It’s not something the council wants to make a decision on by themselves,” Yellow Bird Steele said. “It will be up to the people across the reservation.”

Just last August, reservation members narrowly voted to end prohibition and sell alcohol on the tribal land.

The alcohol ban had been in place for most of the reservation’s 124-year history, with supporters arguing that legalization would only exacerbate the impoverished tribe’s problems with domestic abuse, suicide, infant mortality, unemployment and violent crime. But opponents noted that liquor stores in Whiteclay, Neb., a speck of a town along the reservation’s border, were selling millions of cans a beer a year.

Under the law, the tribe will own and operate stores on the reservation, and profits will be used for education and detoxification and treatment centers, for which there is currently little to no funding.

If the marijuana vote passes, the Pine Ridge reservation would join a number of states that have begun to turn the tide on pot use.

Tribal Councilman James Cross recalled the tribe’s reaction when South Dakota voters in 2010 rejected a proposal to legalize medicinal marijuana. The statewide vote failed by a nearly 2-to-1 margin. But a majority of Shannon County voters, where part of the Pine Ridge reservation is located, supported it.

Cross, who said he smoked in 1990 to help ease pain in his lower back when prescription painkillers left him unable to function, emphasized the medicinal needs over recreational use.

“It was really looking at the medical part of it first,” Cross said. “We really didn’t discuss revenue.”

Robin Tapio, a tribal councilwoman representing the Pine Ridge district, said she hasn’t decided whether she supports the proposal.

Tapio used marijuana to recover from cancer treatments in the mid-1980s, but she also regularly smoked pot until she was 45 and now worries that it may be addictive or cause health problems.