The Yerington Paiute Tribe is looking to open a medical marijuana dispensary near the location of its convenience store and smoke shop in Yerington, Nevada. Photo: Bridge Market/Smoke Shop
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Yerington Paiute Tribe plans medical marijuana dispensary and cultivation site

The Yerington Paiute Tribe is moving forward with plans to join the medical marijuana industry after signing a landmark compact with the state of Nevada.

Th tribe is looking to open a medical marijuana dispensary in the city of Yerington, The Mason Valley News reported. It would be located by the tribe's Bridge Market / Smoke Shop, while a cultivation facility at a separate site in Lyon County is under consideration, the paper said.

“Our main focus is to develop a medical program for our members and medical cards that get reciprocity in the state of Nevada and to get equal access to medicine for our tribal members,” Chairwoman Laurie Thom told the paper.

The tribe was the first of two to enter into a marijuana compact under a new state law. The Nevada Tribal Cannabis Alliance, which represents more than a dozen tribes, pushed for the new law, which follows a similar and successful model in Washington state.

"The cannabis industry will create opportunities for the 27 federally recognized tribes and 40,000 Native Americans living in Nevada," the alliance states on its website, which also anticipates billions of dollars in economic activity thanks to marijuana sales.

Nevada law authorizes marijuana for medical and recreational purposes. But the drug remains illegal under federal law and, by extension, in Indian Country.

A Department of Justice policy that was issued during the Obama administration seemed to recognize the ability of tribes to legalize marijuana in a manner similar to states. Yet Washington and Nevada are the only places where tribal operations have begun or are beginning without problems. Tribes in other states, on the other hand, have faced federal and state raids.

The Trump administration has not rescinded the Obama-era policy but Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the new head of the department, has vowed to take a harder stance against marijuana.

Read More on the Story:
Yerington Paiute Tribe has plans for marijuana dispensary (The Mason Valley News September 13, 2017)

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

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Las Vegas Paiute Tribe prepares to open largest marijuana dispensary in nation (August 7, 2017)
Two tribes enter into first marijuana compacts under new state law in Nevada (August 3, 2017)