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Santa Rosa Band enters deal to grow marijuana on reservation






A sign at the Santa Rosa Reservation in southern California. Photo from Santa Rosa Band

The Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians has entered a deal to grow marijuana on its reservation in southern California, Indian County Today reports.

The tribe is working with Red Crow Cannabis, a Native-owned company, on the project. ICT said the business, dubbed Santa Rosa Farms, is already under construction although further details were scarce.

With 118 adult members, the tribe is small. The 11,000-acre reservation is located in Riverside County, about an hour drive south of Palm Springs and about an hour west of Temecula.


Back row: Red Crow founders Richard Tall Bear, left, and Rick Hill. Front row: Representatives of the Torres Martinez Band of Cahuilla Indians Mary Belardo and Joseph Mirelez. Photo from Red Crow LLC

Red Crow is already working with the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Tribe on a $12 million medical cannabis production and processing facility. The plant could open by January 2016, ICT reported.

“The whole concept has potential to be an economic boom for the tribe, if done properly," Mary Belardo, the executive assistant to Chairwoman Mary L. Resvaloso, told ICT.

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law. But a new Department of Justice policy could open the door to tribes that want to legalize the drug

The policy says state law will be considered in determining whether to enforce federal drug law in Indian Country. Medical marijuana is legal in California and the Torres Martinez Tribe will only sell to medical dispensaries, not to private consumers.

Get the Story:
Hitting Pot Jackpot? Tribe Starts Medical Marijuana Cultivation (Indian Country Today 4/21)

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

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