Squaxin Island Tribe enters marijuana compact in Washington

The Squaxin Island Tribal Center in Shelton, Washington. Photo from Wikipedia

The Squaxin Island Tribe has entered the second marijuana compact in Washington.

The tribe is already building a retail shop near the Little Creek Casino in Shelton, The Olympian reported. It's due to open in a matter of weeks.

"My understanding is we might be first in the nation," council member Jim Peters told the paper.

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board approved the agreement on Wednesday. A copy wasn't available on the agency's website but a draft has been circulating online.

The Suquamish Tribe was the first in the state to sign a compact under House Bill 2000, a new law that authorizes negotiations. The tribe is planning to open a 15915 State Highway 305 NE in Poulsbo later this year.

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 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:
Washington accepting applications next month for new marijuana store licenses (The Olympian 9/24)

An Opinion:
Editorial: Tribes to test legal marijuana market (The Olympian 9/20)

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

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