First Native American cannabis business opens

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Another milestone in the cannabis industry came to pass last week when the first Native American marijuana shop opened in Washington state.

Elevation, a new recreational cannabis shop owned and operated by the Squaxin Island Tribe, opened on the tribe’s reservation, which is located roughly two hours southwest of Seattle and just north of the state capital, Olympia.

The shop opened after the tribe cemented a deal with the Washington State government. Under the agreement, the tribe will collect a tax equivalent to what is also charged by non-tribal rec shops across the state.

A second Washington tribe, the Squamish, followed the same route and is currently building its own rec shop in Kitsap County, according to Northwest Public Radio.

The Squaxin Tribe’s shop marks the official start of the Native American entrance into the retail side of the cannabis trade.

Several other tribes across the country have begun implementing or exploring plans to get into the industry, but all others so far have proven to be false starts, given the complexities of both tribal law and marijuana’s federal status as a Schedule 1 narcotic.

Most recently, a South Dakota tribe announced it’s delaying a plan to open a recreational cannabis resort on its reservation in order to get more time to ensure it’s on solid legal footing.