Near the end of 2014 the Obama Administrative released a memo that stated that if Native American tribes decided to legalize medical and/or recreational marijuana, that they would be allowed to do so without federal interference. Since that time a handful of tribes have announced that they are pursuing ventures. The latest of those is the Shinnecock Indian Nation in New York. New York's medical marijuana industry just started, so this is very significant news. Per Marijuana Business Daily:
It looks like New York's five medical cannabis companies will have some more competition by the end of the year. At least, they will on Long Island.
The Shinnecock Indian Nation, which has a reservation on the eastern part of Long Island, has decided to get into the MMJ business, according to the Southampton Press. The tribe plans on growing and selling MMJ by the end of the year.
But the Shinnecocks won't necessarily have a competitive advantage, since the ordinance the tribal council approved includes a requirement that the operation be governed by state law. That means no smokable MMJ, and they'll have to be careful to ensure that each customer is a registered patient.
The ordinance is limiting in many ways, but the tribe still has a huge advantage on other entities involved in New York's medical marijuana industry. Other companies had to pay enormous sums to compete for a just a handful of licenses. The Shinnecock Indian Nation didn't have to compete during that process, and so their start-up costs will be lower, which means that they can sell medical marijuana for less while still making a greater profit compared to their competitors. If that is indeed the case, patients will benefit greatly from the lower prices, which would be a great thing.