The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community is going forward with plans to sell recreational marijuana, Chairman Brian Cladoosby said.
He said the tribe is working on securing a location for the retail shop, which will be near the Swinomish Casino & Lodge on Highway 20 near Anacortes.
The tribe negotiated an agreement with the state in 2017 that gives it the OK to sell marijuana, he said.
Cladoosby said he was inspired to get into the marijuana business in part by a 2017 study published by the American Public Health Association indicating marijuana legalization in Colorado was associated with a decrease in opioid-related deaths.
“(It suggests) marijuana isn’t a gateway drug, it’s an exit drug,” he said.
Tribes are permitted to keep taxes on marijuana sales inside the tribe to fund essential services, Cladoosby said.
The tax revenue will likely go to education, health or social services, he said.
He said his hope is that revenue could go to funding the tribe’s drug treatment and prevention services, such as its didgwálič Wellness Center.
The tribe isn’t yet planning to grow marijuana, he said.
“We plan on buying from off-reservation growers, (and) help out the local economy in that way,” he said.
Tom Wooten, chairman for the Samish Indian Nation, said his tribe is also considering entering the marijuana market but has no immediate plans.
The tribe has negotiated an agreement with the state, which indicates it is considering a shop on tribal property near Campbell Lake south of Anacortes, he said.