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Marijuana company working on a deal with tribe in New Mexico

Ultra Health operates the Birdland marijuana dispensary in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Photo from Birdland The Hippie Store / Facebook

A marijuana company hopes to announce a deal with a tribe in New Mexico in the next 90 days, The Albuquerque Journal reports.

Duke Rodriguez, the founder of Ultra Health, wouldn't say which tribe was in talks. But he believes marijuana represents a logical step for economic development in Indian Country.

“Imagine the amazing logistical network that tribes have with their smokeshops,” Rodriguez told the Journal. “Imagine all those smokeshops becoming (cannabis) dispensaries someday."

Ultra Health is already working with the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe of Nevada on a medical marijuana production and dispensary project. The tribe is building facilities on its reservation in downtown Las Vegas and on its reservation northwest of the city.

"Our ancestors used it before as medicine. The Paiute people are about helping other people, so this medicine that we're going to provide for Nevada is going to be truly a blessing for both for Nevada and the tribe," Chairman Benny Tso said at the groundbreaking for the $5 million venture, KSNV News3LV reported.

Tribes across the nation have been interested in getting into the marijuana industry. A Department of Justice policy -- known as the 2014 Wilkinson memo -- seemingly opened the door to such ventures in Indian Country.

But many remain wary because tribes in California and Wisconsin have been raided by state and federal authorities. Another tribe in South Dakota burned all of its marijuana crops out of fear of some sort of enforcement action.

So far, only two tribes in Washington have successfully entered the industry and more in the state are poised to do the same. Marijuana is legal there for medicinal and recreational use.

In Nevada, medical marijuana dispensaries are legal for certified patients. Medical marijuana is also legal in New Mexico and Ultra Health already operates grow facilities in the state.

Get the Story:
NM pot producer wants to team up with pueblos (The Albuquerque Journal 3/2)
Las Vegas Paiutes announce plans to build medical pot dispensaries (The Las Vegas Review-Journal 3/1)
Las Vegas Paiutes’ newest venture: medical marijuana (The Las Vegas Sun 3/1)
Paiute tribe breaks ground on cannabis business (KSNV News3LV 2/29)
Paiute Tribe breaks ground on medical marijuana dispensary (KTNV 2/29)
Paiute tribe breaks ground on medical marijuana facility (Las Vegas Now 2/29)

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

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