A sign proclaims Death Valley National Park in California as the "homeland of the Timbisha Shoshone." Restrictions on development in Death Valley have prompted the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe to seek economic opportunities elsewhere. Photo: Like The Grand Canyon

Timbisha Shoshone Tribe refutes rumors of marijuana at casino

The Timbisha Shoshone Tribe will not engage in "any " marijuana activities at the site of its proposed casino in California, Chairman George Gholson said.

Gholson shot down the cannabis rumors after a local news outlet said the tribe was interested in joining the marijuana industry. That report was apparently linked to possible activities on the tribe's reservation, not to the city of Ridgecrest.

“I want to be perfectly clear. The tribe will never sell, carry or condone or have any type of cannabis activity on any level whatsoever in the city of Ridgecrest — ever," Gholson said at a February 7 city council meeting, The Ridgecrest Daily Independent reported.

Plans call for a casino on a 26.5-acre site in Ridgecrest, whose leaders have entered into a municipal services agreement with the tribe. A draft environmental impact report was released in December, a potential sign of progress for a project proposed nearly two years ago.

The land sits more than 120 miles from tribal headquarters in Death Valley National Park, where development options are limited because it's a federal property. A provision in the Timbisha Shoshone Homeland Act requires the Bureau of Indian Affairs to place certain lands in trust for the tribe.

Despite the mandatory nature of the acquisition, the BIA is under no obligation to make a decision within a certain time frame. Controversial changes to the land-into-trust process also have the tribe concerned.

"The Trump administration is not very friendly when it comes to taking land into trust gaming," the tribal council wrote in a 2017 third quarter newsletter.

Read More on the Story:
No cannabis in Ridgecrest: Gholson defends self, tribe (The Ridgecrest Daily Independent February 9, 2018)
Gholson responds to accusations (The Ridgecrest News-Review February 9, 2018)

Join the Conversation

Related Stories
Timbisha Shoshone Tribe anticipates uphill battle with Trump team over casino (October 23, 2017)
Timbisha Shoshone Tribe hints at news regarding gaming project (March 31, 2017)
Timbisha Shoshone Tribe wants land swap for off-reservation casino (February 3, 2017)
Timbisha Shoshone Tribe secures approval to buy land for casino (September 8, 2016)
Timbisha Shoshone Tribe awaits city's decision on casino land sale (September 7, 2016)
Timbisha Shoshone Tribe seeks approval to buy land for casino bid (September 5, 2016)