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.