The first all-tribal marijuana venture is about to take place, and will hopefully be in full working operation by this summer.
The Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indian Tribe (TMDCIT) in Southern California is going to set aside more than 40 acres of reservation land in order to cultivate cannabis on a commercial level. The tribe is taking advantage of its newfound freedom. Ever since the Justice Department announced back in December that it would grant the nation’s Native American tribes permission to produce and sell marijuana, various tribes have been trying to figure out whether this is a blessing or a curse. Well, the TMDCIT are looking at this as an opportunity, even side-stepping some for the problems foreseen by some tribal representatives by not selling any marijuana on the reservation, instead only selling to licensed marijuana dispensaries throughout the state.
While other tribes have already announced their plans to cultivate cannabis, this will be the first all Native American venture into the cannabis industry. The tribe is partnering up with a Native American cannabis consulting firm called Red Crow Cannabis. They will provide the financing and actually build the grow operation.
The money brought in from the cannabis grow will go to fund various projects on the reservation, as well as for education.
"It's a means of economic development, in the way it was presented to us, it's a way to provide several hundred jobs if the project is as big as we hope it to be," said Mary Belardo, executive assistant for the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians. "We want to be a part of this new industry that has a lot of medical potential for the people in the area.”
The tribe hopes to set itself apart from the ever-growing number of California growers by using the same organic growing methods they have implemented to cultivate all other crops on the reservation.