The Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township has signed a letter of intent with a Denver-based medical marijuana management and consulting company to develop a cultivation facility on tribal land in Washington County.
In a media statement released last week by marijuana consulting firm Monarch America, Inc, the company announced that it would “design, engineer, and build out an existing 35,000 sq. ft. structure located on Passamaquoddy Tribal Trust Land for marijuana cultivation”. Additionally, the company says they will design, build and oversee all facets of the operation, including property management, technology and equipment purchasing, inventory control, staffing, and day-to-day operational management. Monarch America CEO Eric Hagen said the facility could be up and running “in a couple of months”.
This is the second marijuana consulting agreement Monarch America has signed with an Indian tribe. The Flandreau Santee Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota, which legalized both medical and recreational marijuana on tribal land this June, recently signed an agreement with Monarch to build and operate a similar facility there.
In an interview with the Portland Press Herald, Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township Chief Billy Nicholas confirmed the tribe’s intention to work with Monarch but said the plan is to start by growing industrial hemp and then possibly expand into medical or recreational marijuana as the laws continue to evolve. “We’re talking about starting off with hemp production and as the state of Maine and federal law allows, we’ll reassess to see whether we expand into other areas,” Nicholas said. “But don’t get me wrong: We’re not here to break the law.”
Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, but U.S. Justice Department officials have taken a hands-off approach to enforcement in states where medical cannabis has been legalized and there is strong local oversight.
The U.S. attorney’s office in Maine is aware through media reports of the medical marijuana facility proposed for Indian Township but has “not been contacted by either of the parties involved,” Donald Clark, public information officer, said late Tuesday afternoon.
“On Oct. 28, 2014, the Department of Justice issued a policy statement regarding marijuana issues in Indian country. If asked, we would indicate we would follow that policy,” Clark said.