Business | Law

Shinnecock Nation asserts control over tobacco amid pressure






The Shinecock Smoke Shop on the Shinecock Nation in New York. Image from Google Maps

Correction: Lance Gumbs is a former tribal trustee not a current tribal official.

The Shinnecock Nation is asserting more control over the sale of tobacco on its reservation amid mounting pressure from the state of New York.

All smoke shops must be licensed by the tribal government and pay fees. The move is designed to protect individual sellers from state enforcement efforts.

"The ordinance wouldn’t necessarily protect us, but it gives the shop owners a little protection, because they would be under the auspices of a tribal ordinance," Lance Gumbs, a co-owner of a smoke shop, told The Southampton Press. "It will be regulated by the tribe and contributing to tribal commerce. It’s not going to be the revenue stream that a lot of people think it’s going to be, but it will be something.”

The state has the highest tobacco tax in the nation, which prompted smoke shops on the reservation to carry products made by other tribes. But the state has been seizing shipments and making other enforcement efforts, causing a loss of revenue for sellers.

Smoke shops say their business has fallen by half or more, the Press reported.

Get the Story:
Shinnecock Nation To Become Sole Distributor Of Cigarettes At Reservation Shops (The Southampton News 7/23)