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People can buy recreational marijuana on Akwesasne territory

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 5:42 PM EDT
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AKWESASNE, New York (WWNY) - A St. Regis Mohawk tribal court tells the tribal government that recreational marijuana shops are okay. The ruling means people can buy pot on Akwesasne territory.

The customers are still flowing in to pot shops in Akwesasne. They come for all kinds of reasons.

“It’s more for convenience. I hold a medical marijuana card. I usually have to travel to Plattsburgh. This cuts my time in half,” said Josh Miller, Native Flower customer.

The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe ordered the shops shut down. It says they’re operating without licenses. Many opened even before the tribe passed licensing regulations.

But last week, a tribal court rejected the tribal government’s shut-down orders for seven shops.

The tribe said, “The Court’s ruling does not condone or even address the ability of these rogue operations to continue under their so-called licenses.”

The tribal government has already asked the court to reconsider.

Five of the shops opened with licenses from a rival group: the Indian Way Longhouse. It says last week’s ruling gives the shops a green light to keep operating. Meanwhile, others say they’ll wait for tribal licenses.

“The license will allow us to grow our own product. It’s going to allow us to test our own product. And it’s also going to allow us to diversify our genetic strains and to accommodate the customer as they want,” said Ryan White, Budders CEO and manager.

White hopes to have the Budders “superstore” open in a couple months. The tribe is now processing a license for Budders and dozens of other applicants.

The pot shops are getting a big jump on any stores that may eventually open in nearby communities like Massena and Malone.

New York legalized marijuana in April. But, it still has to pass the regulations that would allow pot to be sold at retail. It hopes to do that by next year. Political wrangling could hold it up.

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