Back in October the US Department of Justice finalized the guidelines sent out to all US attorneys on how they should approach the emerging cannabis industry. In December these guidelines started hitting the news. The guidelines were simple, the tribes would follow the same directive's as the other US States; the one advantage? The tribes can write their own law and little if any holds are barred. Moreover the DOJ went as far as to offer no guidance beyond the memo, leaving the tribes wondering what's going on?
"We actually have no idea what's going on here," said Troy Eid, a Denver attorney and chairman of the Indian Law and Order Commission, which advises Obama and Congress on tribal criminal justice issues. "What we do know is that, for unknown reasons, there has been no consultation between the administration and tribes as to what they want to do. It's a very unusual gap in how this president has approached things."
Unusual indeed as it has been well publicized that President Obama has been the most active in helping the tribes over his two terms over any recent President, as reported by Bloomberg. “Over the last few years, I’ve had a chance to speak with Native American leaders across the country about the challenges you face, and those conversations have been deeply important to me,” Obama said in an address to Indian leaders in November 2009. “I get it. I’m on your side. I understand what it means to be an outsider.”
The way we see this situation through the eyes of the CHA is the Federal Government is offering carte blanche, the opportunity for tribes to do whatever they feel is necessary within the framework of the (8) directives of the Cole Memorandum, lets recap:
The CHA has created a strategy for the tribes to make drastic and radical moves within the framework of the DOJ memo that we believe will change the face of the cannabis industry. Our strategy goes far beyond the buying and selling of pot and into a new realm of economic reinvigoration, a micro-economy of cannabis-driven emerging industries developed first in pockets around America, and soon worldwide.
CHA has been in talks with a number of global business owners about integrating cannabis and hemp into their operations, in order to do so they would need licensure and the CHA has developed strategies for the tribes to ensure the licenses granted provide IMMEDIATE, SUDDEN, AND DRASTIC POSITIVE impact to Indian Country. We at the CHA believe that when American people think of Native Americans they think "natural, outdoors, holistic, and green" a people truly connected to the Earth. The CHA sees no better marketing synergy for the impending cannabis and plant-based movement to thrive. The CHA sees a return of reputation to the tribes of distinguished honor, through the reinvigoration of the economies of these tribes. Perhaps most importantly the CHA sees no community that can benefit more from cannabis than the tribes.
The tribes have some major competitive advantages:
(1) Time - Due to the outlying laws in the states they operate tribes can move much faster than the states they are located within to attract businesses to their reservations.
(2) Sovereignty - They have less to lose or risk, they can be more progressive and design their program to have advantages that their existing states don't have. Such as a NY tribe may offer recreational products while NY medical marijuana only has concentrated, finished packaged goods.
(3) Tax Advantages - Tribes can attract outsiders to partner with the state and offer lower taxes than the absorbent ones levied by greedy states. The tribes can attract many corporations that are interested in the business with this advantage. Plus they are not subjected to IRS section 280e.
(4) Creativity - Tribes do not have to copy cat the other US states, they can start an entirely new system if they so choose, one that encourages other business interests than the cultivation and sale of marijuana.
(5) Land - Most reservations have the land to cultivate hemp for industrial use. Environmentally there are few places on Earth hemp won't grow. This land can be leased to developers, have corporations relocate, hospitals built, universities established, and even sustainable fire, ambulance, and police forces to make the reservations safer for members.
The CHA looks forward to galvanizing our relationships with the tribes, this was my quote to the newspapers today:
“The legal representatives of dozens of tribes in more than a few states have heard of our interest in assisting and we are intensively negotiating the parameters of entering into a strategic partnership on an ongoing basis. Our unique value proposition to the tribes has been well received by the community and we expect to have a development deal finalized in the coming days.”
“The tribes are being choked out by competition and regulations in their existing operations. They understand the only way to grow as a state is to be a part of emerging industries; those unregulated due to their youth. We are the only developer in the nation who has approached them with a package that allows the Native Americans to do more than ‘buy and sell pot.’”
“Frankly, we are so far out in front with our innovative strategies from the rest of the industry, I don’t believe anyone has a shot to catch up. We encourage more tribes to engage with us. We are deeply concerned about the impact of tribes working with our competitors. We are concerned they will waste the one chance they have to set up the proper infrastructure for sustainability by thinking too short-term. Many of these Nations are fragmented and deeply impacted by drugs, alcohol, and crime which we believe is mostly brought on by poverty and a lack of opportunity. It would seriously disturb me if Native American nations are subscribing to the American standard cannabis dispensary system, under the substantive conditions those communities face. They need another alternative. We provide that.”