PRINCETON, Maine (AP) — The Passamaquoddy Tribe signed a letter of intent with a medical marijuana management and consulting company to build a cultivation facility in northeastern Maine.
Denver-based Monarch America Inc. announced last week it plans to design and manage a cutting edge marijuana cultivation facility in an existing 35,000-square-foot building in Princeton, The Portland Press Herald reported (http://bit.ly/1EOd4R0 ).
Chief Billy Nicholas confirmed Tuesday that the tribe signed the letter of intent. He said it wants to use the facility to make industrial hemp, not medical marijuana.
Nicholas said the tribe will consider expanding operations as the laws surrounding marijuana change. He said he hopes the tribal government will reach an agreement with Monarch within the next month and that the creation of the facility could provide 15 jobs to start.
"The business venture allows us to have a better economic base and exercise our sovereignty when it comes to business operations and employment on the reservation, and off the reservation," he said.
Maine has legalized medical marijuana and industrial hemp production, but the federal government still outlaws both. Eric Hagen, Monarch's CEO, said state laws don't necessarily hinder sovereign Native American tribes from producing or selling marijuana.
The U.S. Department of Justice concluded last year it would allow the nation's Indian tribes to legalize and regulate recreational or medicinal marijuana on their reservations as long as they comply with the same federal guidelines the states have to follow.
Hagan said that over the next month he plans to reach out to the state, its attorney general and the U.S. attorney for Maine to discuss the initiative.
Information from: Portland Press Herald, http://www.pressherald.com