Washington state and a Native American tribe have reached an agreement on the growth and sale of marijuana, a deal that will pave the way for the tribe to run a legal cannabis store and is the first agreement of its kind in the United States, the tribe and state officials said.
Under the pact, a tribal tax equivalent to the state excise tax will be applied to pot sales to non-tribal customers on Suquamish tribal lands.
Washington voters legalized the possession of marijuana and its regulated sale when they approved Initiative 502 in 2013, and the state’s first stores opened early this year.
“This agreement is an excellent model for future compacts,” said Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board chairman Jane Rushford, according to the Seattle Times.
Board officials said in a news release that the 10-year agreement signed Monday will govern the production, processing and sale of marijuana on the tribe's land located in Kitsap County, which is just a few miles west of Seattle.
“Our decision to enter into retail operations comes after careful consideration,” Tribal Council Chairman Leonard Forsman said in a statement. “With the passage of I-502, we knew we needed to adapt to the changing environment surrounding our reservation and saw an opportunity to diversify our business operations."
The compact will head next to Gov. Jay Inslee for approval. A bill passed by the state legislature in 2015 allows the governor to enter into marijuana agreements with tribes in Washington recognized by the federal government.
The tribe’s store is slated to be ready by November 2015, according to the tribe’s statement. The Suquamish tribe has approximately 1,100 members, the statement added.
Al Jazeera and The Associated Press