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Oneida Indian Nation to Launch New York Cannabis Enterprise

Oneida Indian Nation has announced that it will launch a new central New York cannabis business. Construction of a facility measuring 50,000 sq. ft. is expected to start next month. New York’s Oneida Indian Nation will manage the seed-to-sale enterprise. It will also include cultivation and production of cannabis at its new Verona facility. They are expected to open retail cannabis stores in 2023, exclusively on tribal lands.

Ray Halbritter (a Representative of the Oneida Indian Nation) is the CEO and President of Oneida Nation Enterprises. Halbritter stated that the Oneida Indian Nation will be launching cannabis operations to benefit from the economic opportunities provided by New York’s legalization.

“As more and more states across the country enter into the cannabis business, including neighboring states and other tribal nations, it is important that the Oneida people not be left out from taking advantage of this economic opportunity,” Halbritter said in a statement from the Oneida Indian Nation. “We are excited about this new venture and are confident based on our expertise and proven track record within other highly regulated industries that we will be able to set the standard for developing a safe and successful adult recreational cannabis business on Oneida Indian Nation lands.”

New York passed the Marijuana Taxation and Regulation Act last March, 2021. This law legalized recreational cannabis. The regulators are in the process to develop the regulation system that will govern the cannabis sector. By the end this year, the first cannabis retail dispensaries for adult use should be open.

Officials in New York have acknowledged that sovereign Native American nations are free to participate in the state’s legal cannabis market. Cayuga Nation opened a Seneca County cannabis production and processing plant and Cayuga County store. While the Akwesasne Nation owns retail marijuana outlets in northern New York and the Seneca Nation boasts about 20 stores on its western territory, the Seneca Nation is home to approximately 20.

For its newly announced cannabis enterprise, the Oneida Indian Nation has adopted a cannabis ordinance and regulations to govern the cannabis enterprise and hold it to standards comparable to New York State’s cannabis laws and regulations, including comparable age restrictions and limitations on purchase amounts, employee licensure requirements and assurances of product safety and quality.

Instead of issuing licences to other operators, the Oneida Indian Nation will be responsible for all the business operations associated with the marijuana enterprise. The nation has discussed the tribe’s plans for the cannabis enterprise with the New York Office of Cannabis Management and is open to further talks, according to Joel Barkin, the nation’s vice president for communications.

Oneida Indian Nation and the New York State Office of Cannabis Management have been in talks to establish a joint inspection partnership for their cannabis products. The nation will apply the same tax rate on marijuana sales as the state to “avoid competition questions,” Barkin said. The tribe will receive all tax revenue to help it and the municipal services that they provide on their territory. They include public safety and culture preservation, as well as health care.

Oneida Indian Nation in central New York is a federally-recognized Indian nation. It has about 1000 enrolled tribe members. The Oneida Indian Nation’s enterprises, which employ more than 4,500 people, include hotels, casinos, retail shops, an RV Park, and three boat marinas. Proceeds from these enterprises are used to develop the tribe’s economic base and provide essential services to its members, including housing, health care, and education incentives and programs.