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Oneida Indian Nation to launch cannabis operation

Posted 9/20/22

The Oneida Indian Nation will start construction next month on a full-scale, 50,000-square-foot cannabis cultivation and production facility.

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Oneida Indian Nation to launch cannabis operation

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VERONA — The Oneida Indian Nation will start construction next month on a full-scale, 50,000-square-foot cannabis cultivation and production facility. Retail locations, which will be announced at a later date and located exclusively on Nation lands, are projected to open in late 2023, according to an announcement Monday by Nation officials.

The entire cannabis operation, from seed to sale, will be operated by the Oneida Indian Nation. The cultivation and manufacturing facility will be located on Hill Road. New York legalized adult-use cannabis on March 31, 2021, although legal sales have been stifled as regulations are waiting to be confirmed on a timeline that’s not quite clear. The Oneida Nation can set up its own regulations on the product, allowing sales to open ahead of others who must follow New York State’s rules. New York officials say a Nation’s dispensaries are legal if they’re on federally recognized, sovereign tribal land.

OIN officials say this cannabis initiative is in furtherance of their commitment to diversify its economic base and create separate revenue streams to support its vital government programs and services for the Oneida people, such as health care, education, public safety, and cultural preservation. It is also a reaffirmation of the Nation’s reinvestment efforts in the region and its commitment to creating new employment opportunities for its workforce and the community, the Nation’s announcement added.

The Oneida Indian Nation’s cannabis cultivation, production, and sales will be highly regulated by the Oneida Indian Nation Cannabis Commission, an independent regulatory oversight body which the Nation will create to oversee the safety and compliance of the cannabis business, according to the announcement.

The entire Oneida Indian Nation cannabis program will be conducted in compliance with the historic 2013 Settlement Agreement between the State of New York, the Oneida Indian Nation, Oneida County, and Madison County. The Oneida Indian Nation will charge and collect taxes at the same level as New York State, and the Nation will dedicate those tax proceeds exclusively to tribal government programs such as public safety, health care, affordable housing, education, and cultural preservation.

Nation officials say they have adopted a “robust cannabis ordinance and regulations that impose governance standards that are comparable to those embodied in the New York State cannabis laws.” These include comparable age restrictions and limitations on purchase amounts, employee licensure requirements, and assurances of product safety and quality.

The Oneida Indian Nation has engaged in discussions with the New York State Office of Cannabis Management to create a joint inspection partnership of their cannabis products. The Oneida Indian Nation remains open to advancing those discussions if the Office of Cannabis Management wishes to do so, officials say.

Like all of its major capital investments, construction of the Oneida Indian Nation’s 50,000-square-foot cannabis grow facility will be performed pursuant to a Project Labor Agreement with the Central and Northern New York Building Trades Council.

The consumption of cannabis will remain prohibited at Oneida Nation Enterprises venues, including at all of its casinos, hotels, restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues

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