Native American Leaders Hired to Tout Cannabis Industry

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Two cannabis companies have brought on Native American leaders to foster marijuana production and commerce on tribal lands.

Monarch America – a Denver-based company with subsidiaries that offer consulting services, produce infused drinks and sell indoor gardening supplies – has hired Robert Shepherd as its tribal relations officer, according to the Associated Press. Shepherd is the former chairman of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate tribe in North Dakota and South Dakota.

California-based cannabis consulting company Wright Family Organics brought on Tex Hall to provide support for tribes wanting to enter the cannabis space.

Hall is the former head of the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation, which has more than 1,000 oil wells and accounts for a third of the oil produced in North Dakota. He lost his seat as chairman last year due to reportedly shady personal dealings and criticism of how he spent tribal money from oil ventures.

Native American leaders have been debating whether to allow marijuana production and commerce since the U.S. Department of Justice in December said it wouldn’t enforce a federal ban on cultivation and sales on sovereign lands.

The chairman of the American Indian Law Center told the AP that tribes should consider “moral concerns” before making a decision.