Michigan Tribe Wants Own Marijuana Market Independent from State Control
Michigan voters first passed the state's medical marijuana law back in 2008, and in 2018 the citizens of Michigan voted to approve recreational use, which went into effect in December 2019, and recreational dispensaries started opening this year. Now A Native American Tribe in the Upper Peninsula is creating a tribal Marijuana market which will not have state oversight. There are plans to build a 10,000-plant indoor grow facility near Sault Ste. Marie early in 2021.
MLive reports “Bay Mills Indian Community has developed businesses to generate revenues for our tribal government, and to benefit our citizens and community. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the urgency for us to find new sources of economic opportunity for our people,” said BMIC Tribal Chairperson Bryan Newland. “We don’t begrudge anyone else who has found a different way into this industry. At the same time, Bay Mills has no interest in turning over our sovereign lands to private, for-profit corporations who are regulated and taxed by the State of Michigan.” The Bay Mills Indian Community, made up of around 2,200 Native Americans from the Ojibwe tribe based in Brimley, would supply marijuana and other related products for sale on cooperating tribal lands.
Native American lands are not subject to state law, so they would be exempt from state sales taxes. “Look, we’re a sovereign government, “ Newland Said. “We’re not giving up our right and our authority to regulate what goes on our lands, and we’re certainly not going to pay the state of Michigan taxes for what we do on our lands.” The grow operation will supply stores near the tribes Bay Mills Resort and Casino, as well as on land it owns near Gaylord, Port Huron, and Flint. Newland said they reached out to the state Marijuana Regulatory authority a year ago to discuss a cooperative agreement, but were rejected by state officials. The Bay Mills Indian community voted in 2019 to legalize marijuana like what was passed by Michigan Voters. The MMRA declined to comment on the Bay Mills Indian Tribe plans.