A cannabis plant. Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via Wikipedia

Suquamish Tribe signs first marijuana compact in Washington

The Suquamish Tribe and the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board signed the first-ever marijuana compact on Monday.

The deal is the first to be negotiated under House Bill 2000, a new law that authorizes the state to enter into marijuana agreements. It addresses taxation, regulation and other issues at a retail store that's expected to open on the Port Madison Reservation later this year.

“Our tribe always favors a collaborative and cooperative approach,” Suquamish Chairman Leonard Forsman said in a press release. ”We believe that our relationship with the State, including this compact, will best serve and protect our tribal community, surrounding neighbors, and residents of the state.”

According to the compact, the Suquamish Evergreen Corporation will produce and process marijuana at a facility at 15915 State Highway 305 NE in Poulsbo. The location is near a gas station operated by the tribe and is a half-mile from the Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort.

The Suquamish Tribe plans to produce, process and sell marijuana at a facility about a half-mile from the Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort. Photo: Port Madison Enterprises / Facebook

The tribe will charge a 37 percent tax that will be used to fund services and programs. The tax rate is the same as the state's.

Tribal law does not currently authorize individual members to operate retail outlets at this time. But the compact, which runs for 10 years, can be amended in the future in case that situation arises.

The agreement will be presented to Gov. Jay Inslee (D) for his approval. He signed HB 2000 into law in May.

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law. But the Department of Justice opened the door to legal forms of the drug in Indian Country with the 2014 Wilkinson memo.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) signed House Bill 2000 into law on May 8, 2015. Photo: Miller Nash Graham & Dunn

Washington has legalized marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes. Through compacts, HB 2000 encourages cooperation to address jurisdiction, law enforcement and other issues in Indian Country.

In fiscal year 2015 -- the first year of sales -- marijuana generated $259.8 million, according to the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board. Taxes generated nearly $65 million for the state.

So far in fiscal year 2016, which started on July 1, sales have generated $144.2 million.

Get the Story:
Deal to let Suquamish Tribe open Kitsap County pot store (The Seattle Times 9/15)
Suquamish will enter retail marijuana market this fall (The North Kitsap Herald 9/15)
Compact 'doesn’t mean we endorse' marijuana use (The North Kitsap Herald 9/15)
Suquamish Tribe could soon be selling recreational marijuana in Kitsap County (The Kent Reporter 9/15)
Washington, Suquamish sign nation’s first state-tribal marijuana pact (Q13 Fox News 9/14)
State, Suquamish Tribe sign first ever marijuana compact (AP 9/14)
Squaxin, Suquamish tribes working on plans to sell marijuana (The Tacoma News-Tribune 9/12)

Relevant Documents:
Department of Justice Policy Statement Regarding Marijuana Issues in Indian Country (October 2014)

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