An alligator in the Everglades of Florida. Photo: U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service
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Former chairman of Seminole Tribe launches marijuana venture

James "Jim" Billie, a former chairman of the Seminole Tribe, is joining the marijuana industry.

Billie, who was removed as chairman in September, plans to help tribes secure financing for marijuana operations. His MCW firm is working with Electrum Partners on the venture, according to news reports.

“It will be bigger than bingo,” Billie, who was one of the pioneers of the Indian gaming industry, said at a press conference on Tuesday, The Miami Herald reported.

Lots of tribes have expressed interest in marijuana but few have started operations due to uncertainties in federal and state law. While tribes in Washington have been able to open retail shops others have been subject to raids.

During the Obama administration, the Department of Justice issued a policy statement that seemingly opened the door to marijuana in Indian Country. The Trump administration has not rescinded the memo but Attorney General Jeff Sessions does not support legalization of the drug.

Read More on the Story:
Former Seminole chief Billie to leverage sovereign land in the legal weed game (The Miami Herald 6/6)
Seminole-owned business strikes deal with marijuana-industry firm (The South Florida Sun-Sentinel 6/6)

An Opinion:
Robert W. Wood: Pot Casino? Native American Tribe Sparks Marijuana Business -- Tax Free (Forbes 6/6)

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