St. Regis Mohawk Tribe Accepting Cannabis License Applications

A New York Native American Tribe has begun accepting applications for retail cannabis licenses this week.

Last week, the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe announced that it would begin accepting licenses on Monday, September 13 at 9:00 a.m.

Retail license applications are available during regular business hours at the SRMT Compliance Office located at 28 Okwarine Road in Akwesasne.

Moving Forward with Legal Cannabis

According to the Tribe, accepting applications is the latest step in the effort to establish a legal cannabis industry under its jurisdiction.

The effort was approved by a community referendum in December 2019.

Tribal Chief Beverly Cook says the community cannabis ordinance gives businesses with tribal licenses a jump start.

“But more importantly, it helps certify that the products being made available for sale have been tested and proven safe for consumers,” says Cook. “Ensuring product safety is part of the Tribe’s effort to encourage Tribal members to participate in this new industry that will benefit the entire community.”

The Tribe recently announced that it would be launching the first legal cannabis shops in Northern New York.

New York, which recently appointed members to its Cannabis Control Board, is not expected to issue retail cannabis licenses for another year and a half.

The state legalized adult-use cannabis on Wednesday, March 31, when then-Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that also expanded New York’s medical program.

“Unlike other tribal territories, the Tribe’s Adult Use Cannabis Ordinance provides eligible tribal members with the opportunity to help develop this new industry for the benefit of the community,” says Tribal Chief Michael Conners. “Tribal licensing builds upon our business community’s history of keeping revenue in Akwesasne to support community programs and services.”

Giving Back to the Community

The Tribe says that licensing fees will help employ members of the community and finance essential services such as education.

The fees will also support community programs like the Tribe’s Fuel Oil Burner Service Cleaning Program and Heating Equipment Repair Replacement Program.

According to the Tribe, the programs, which help all tribal members, had a significant budget reduction due to funding shortfalls in the Tribal General Fund.

“We continue to take this time to thank community members for contributing to the regulation’s development, as well as for individual’s patience in obtaining a retail license under tribal law,” says Tribal Chief Ron LaFrance. “Tribally licensed cannabis retailers will have an opportunity to make their products available in advance of State licensed businesses.”

Retail license applications are available for people who submitted an Adult-Use Cannabis Business Pre-Clearance Form.

Pre-Clearance forms are available to anyone interested and may be returned to the Compliance Department before obtaining a retail application.

The Tribe says that applicants who submit completed applications can expect to hear back on their status within two weeks.

The Tribe encourages people seeking additional information to call the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe Compliance Department at 518-358-2273.