State House OK’s Pot Deal With Tribes, Would Allow Growing and Marijuana Stores
By a vote of 80-18, the Washington State House passed a bill Friday to allow American Indian tribes to start participating in the state's marijuana industry.
Not originally part of the plan when I-502 was passed, the bill will allow the tribal groups to grow, process and sell marijuana, creating a potentially-large source of income they can use towards many different community projects. The tribes, if interested, would have to negotiate their own deals with the Liquor Control Board within the current rules.
The bill was sponsored after a December federal ruling that indian tribes are free to negotiate their own deals with the governments in states where pot is legal.
The bill will now move onto the Senate for consideration. Some supporters have cynically stated if the pot industry had taken off the way it was promised before and after I-502 passed, the tribes would not have been "invited" to participate. They say the state would have ignored them because "business would be already booming."
But most legislators agreed it was only fair to include the tribes in the process, as they make up a significant part of the state's population, and own large land areas.