New York tribe launches recreational cannabis industry

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The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, based in upstate New York near the Canadian border, began rolling out its own tribally run, recreational cannabis industry by awarding three cultivation permits.

The move puts the tribe on the path to be the first adult-use marijuana retailer in the state.

According to Watertown, New York, TV station WWTI, the licenses were issued to:

  • Tru Bloom, owned by Vance Thompson.
  • Bank Side Flowering Co., owned by Noah Mitchell.
  • First Americans, owned by Rick Hamelin.

The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, which is located in Akwesasne, New York, began working on adult-use industry rules two years ago, formally legalized the industry in July and began taking license applications in September.

The companies were allowed to apply for tribal licenses after they each agreed to abide by the tribe’s regulations, which were adopted in June.

The state Cannabis Compliance Office said that it was processing retail applications and expects to award those permits in “early 2022,” WWTI reported.

Meanwhile, Nevada-based multistate operator Audacious said it has signed a letter of intent with First Americans LLC of the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe to create a partnership that will stand up cultivation, processing, manufacturing and retail operations on tribal lands.

“This deal expedites adult usage sales in New York State,” Audacious CEO Terry Booth said in a news release.

“With the statewide start of adult use sales not expected to commence for at least another 18 months, this partnership creates an incredible early-mover advantage that we and our First Americans partners will look to capitalize on.”

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The first retail shop operated by Audacious and the tribe will be “opposite the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino and Resort,” which receives roughly 2.4 million annual visitors, according to the release.

Hamelin, one of the three cultivation license winners, said that “teaming up with the Audacious team … brings crucial experience in the cannabis industry that we believe will provide us with very significant competitive advantages in this market.”