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SRMT August Monthly Meeting

Medical Marijuana and Hemp Discussed


The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe held their monthly meeting on Saturday, August 6, 2016. The meeting was well attended by community members. With only two agenda items the meeting was packed with information to consider for the future of Akwesasne. After the customary welcoming and reading of action items the Akwesasne Tourism Strategic Action Plan made a presentation on the progress of their summer project.

The next agenda item captured the bulk of the meeting with the Joe Stevens, CCO from the Etain on medical marijuana business and Allyson and Jeff Doctor of the National Indian Cannabis Coalition.

In a labor intensive, cost prohibitive and robust industry, Mr. Stevens shared the positive and negative of a medical marijuana industry. Of the 6000 patients who could legally access medical marijuana, 3000 actually do. Etain is a family-run, women-owned business committed to manufacturing clean, safe, and consistent medical marijuana products for the patients of New York State. Etain, LLC is a registered organization providing medical marijuana products under the New York Compassionate Care Act enacted July, 2014 by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.

Stevens is also Chief Compliance Officer at Compassionate Organics in Massachusetts and has consulted for other medical marijuana license seekers in Massachusetts. He has worked with elected officials and regulatory personnel in New York, Delaware, and Oregon to provide insight into compliance and the introduction of state medical marijuana programs.

With the black market and extremely high cost of using medical marijuana, the cost is absorbed completely by the patient. Medical insurance will not cover the referral, license to purchase, or the cost of medical marijuana itself. Indian Health Services does not cover any part of using medical marijuana. The Federal government lists medical marijuana as illegal and states work around this by a directive of a memo to state to comply with any and all regulations and restriction in the production, sale and distribution of medical marijuana.

Allyson and Jeff Doctor, along with Lael Echo-Hawk, of the National Indian Cannabis Coalition provided the SRMT Council and community members with an extensive background in medical marijuana. Their goal is to provided information to Tribal leaders and their constituents with up to date information on the constantly changing laws, regulations, and potential growing market for medical marijuana. Jeff Doctor is an entrepreneur and native business leader and is from the Seneca Nation.

Allyson Doctor has 17 years experience in healthcare leadership, operations and strategic development. She is experienced in tribal communications and public relations and is the former Communications Director for the SRMT. Allyson is a member of the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe.

Community members asked a variety of questions in relation to the growing, harvesting and use of medical marijuana, as well as questions on the laws and regulations and how it relates to the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe.

The SRMT will be conducting a referendum on medical marijuana and hemp in the near future. This referendum will gauge the community’s input on whether to pursue this avenue or not. There is a thirty-day comment period, which closes on September 5th. There will be additional informational meetings on this topic.

New Business brought questions to the floor on the removal of the dam as well as additional questions on medical marijuana and hemp.

Your Thoughts

At Saturday’s Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal monthly meeting, medical marijuana and hemp were discussed. What are your thoughts on these two matters?

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