What it means for the cannabis industry.
The Seneca Nation of Indians is considering a new law that would make it easier to ban non-Native people who enter their territory to sell drugs and endanger public safety. The proposed, "Exclusion Law," could impact legal cannabis dispensaries located on Native Territory.
The law essentially creates a mechanism to identify and ban non-Native people who pose a danger to the tribe and creates a process to prevent them from entering or living on the Nation’s territory. The law also creates penalties for individuals violating the law and for Senecas who help people break it.
Native land has become inundated with dispensaries that are looking to capitalize on NY’s slow rollout of legal cannabis. Many of the dispensaries in the Cattaraugus territory are located along Route 5 or on Old Lake Shore Rd in Irving. You can drive down the road and pass 10 of them in less than one minute. But another thing you’re likely to pass is yard signs exclaiming “Say No to Drugs” and to “Ban Drug Dealers.”
It’s easy to think that these signs pertain to “harder drugs” than cannabis, but the proximity of the signs to the dispensaries suggests that they are also the subjects of this criticism.
Despite the number of dispensaries on Native land, most of the cannabis bought and sold on the land is not produced there. It’s unclear whether this new law would prevent cannabis from being brought into Native land by non-Natives.
Cannabis-friendly events have also proliferated successfully on Native land. The Tuscarora reservation held a successful cannabis-friendly festival and concert with hip-hop superstars Method Man and Red Man last year.
Other events are more vendor-focused and allow craft growers and other manufacturers to sell their products in a farmer's market-style setup. A serious concern at these events is that the amount of cash and merchandise dealt with makes them an attractive target for robberies. Some vendors have reported being followed home from events and robbed at gunpoint.
As the cannabis industry continues to thrive on Native Land, the nation would bode well to develop policies that promote safety and encourage the presence of law enforcement at these types of events.
The proposed Exclusion Law is still in the early stages of development, and it is not clear when it will be voted on by the Seneca Nation Council. However, the law has generated a lot of discussion among Senecas, and it is likely to be a controversial issue.