Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

The People Of The Water; Squaxin Tribe Open Cannabusiness On Federal Land


Elevation is a recreational retail cannabis store located on the tribal land owned by the Squaxin Island Tribe in Mason County, Washington. Officially opening on November 12, 2015 at precisely 4:20p.m., Elevation is the first cannabis business to open on tribal land in the United States. This is significant for the cannabis industry—cannabis is still recognized as an illegal drug at the federal level, although it is authorized for medical use in 39 states and Washington D.C., and is acceptable for recreational use in Colorado, Oregon, Alaska and Washington State.

The Squaxin Island Tribe is known as The People of the Water, having lived and thrived along the southern shores of the Salish Sea for hundreds of years. Following Washington’s legalization of recreational cannabis in November 2012, the tribe observed legal cannabis stores popping up around the state. It wasn’t long after the first recreational cannabis stores opened in July 2014 that the Wilkinson Memo was released by the U.S. government’s Department of Justice. The Wilkinson Memo did not legalize cannabis on tribal land, but it did indicate where enforcement would be focused. This important memo from the government sparked the Squaxin Island Tribe’s interest in the cannabis industry further. By early spring of 2015, they decided to actively pursue a business in the cannabis industry and by November 2015, a precedent was set across the country.


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