Last week, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill into law authorizing the state to enter into agreements with federally recognized Indian Tribes with regard to marijuana regulation.
The agreements would address any marijuana issues that involve both state and tribal interests including:
- Criminal and civil law enforcement;
- Regulatory issues concerning the possession, production, processing, and sale of marijuana;
- Medical research of marijuana;
- Taxation of marijuana; and
- Any tribal immunities and preemption in regard to the production, processing, and sale of marijuana.
Importantly, tribes that enter into agreements with the state, would be required to charge a tax on marijuana sales equivalent to the state’s marijuana excise tax. Tribes, however, are allowed an exemption to this tax for sales to the tribe or a tribal member of marijuana grown and processed on tribal lands.
A number of Washington tribes have expressed interest in legalizing marijuana on tribal lands. This bill should establish a framework for marijuana legalization on tribal lands as well as ensure that both tribal and nontribal marijuana businesses are subject to a similar rate of taxation.
For more information on the regulation of recreational marijuana businesses, please contact Heather Wolf.