Tribal governments considering cannabis business partnerships

Colton Shone
June 16, 2017 12:00 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The medical marijuana industry is a touchy subject. Depending on who you ask, expansion could be good for our state's economy. But what if tribal governments beat the state to the punch? There is a big push to do just that.


"What we got is a 22,000 square foot greenhouse. 7,000 square feet is dedicated to growth," said Eric Howard, the director of cultivation for Ultra Health."The strains that we have in here are 8 week finishers."

Ultra Health provides medical pot to five New Mexico counties, and the company has had a business relationship with the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe in Nevada.

"We are very much engaged with Indian tribes throughout the country who are looking to explore the possibilities to get into the cannabis industry," said Ultra Health Vice-President of Business Development Leonard Salgado.

Salgado says that includes New Mexico Pueblos which could provide them with a huge economic boost.

"Tribal nations have unique sovereignty. They have a government within themselves, so they can look to create economic opportunities for their people, they can leverage their unique tax situation to help them," Salgado said.

For instance, right now a growing facility is limited to one license that will allow them to grow 450 plants. However, tribal governments may be able to increase the number of licenses to a single growing operation, which would mean more plants.

This kind of action is already gaining momentum. Earlier this year, the Pueblo of Acoma partnered with Delaware-based Bright Green Group of Companies to house a 150 acre greenhouse designed to grow and research medicinal plants including marijuana.

Ultra Health officials say New Mexico had $50 million in medical pot revenue last year and it's expected to exceed $80 million this year, saying the business will continue to grow.


Colton Shone

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