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US (MI): Indian tribes seeking a way into cannabis industry

The Michigan House is considering legislation that would extend cannabis business licensing opportunities to Michigan's 13 Indian tribes, allowing for key agreements that have been lacking since adult-use cannabis was legalized in 2018. 

The bill would allow the Marijuana Regulatory Agency to enter into compact agreements with each of Michigan's tribes so cannabis businesses located on tribal lands could become licensed by the state and have access to several aspects of the industry — including product from licensed Michigan growers, processors, testers and transporters and the cannabis tracking software system used by the state, called Metrc. 

"Really this is a problem we’ve been trying to fix for close to four years," said Whitney Gravelle, president of the executive council for Bay Mills Indian Community. "When Michigan legalized cannabis in 2018, tribes were forgotten about. That’s typically not the process for other states that have legalized. But from the moment it was legalized in Michigan, we’ve playing catch-up.”

The bill — which was pulled before from a committee agenda for some technical fixes — also would ensure tribal cannabis businesses are subject to the same tax rate as state-licensed facilities: 6% sales tax and 10% excise tax.

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