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Pot dispensary wins early victory in tribal case

Pot dispensary wins early victory in tribal case

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A dispensary has won a preliminary victory in the battle over who can sell marijuana in the southern, U.S. portion of Akwesasne.

A Mohawk tribal court ruled Friday that Good Leaf in Hogansburg doesn’t have to shut down, as had been required by the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe.

In the decision, Chief Judge Carrie Garrow wrote the Tribe failed to present evidence that the owners of Good Leaf are breaking the law or even proof that they’re selling marijuana at all, adding “it has not shown that the Respondents are in fact in [sic] selling and/or other marijuana products or even that Morris Oakes, Gabriel Oakes, and William R. Jock, Respondents, are owners of the Good Leaf dispensary.”

The judge also noted that Good Leaf was issued a “business license” by the traditional Longhouse council in Akwesasne. Many traditionalist Mohawks have long argued they are not subject to the governing councils established by the U.S. or Canada.

In a statement, the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Council called the decision “a procedural ruling” that ignores Good Leaf’s “open and flagrant operations” as a marijuana dispensary. “The Court erred and the Tribe has filed today motions to reconsider given that the record is clear that Good Leaf admitted in court it is operating outside of tribal law,” the Council said in the statement. “The Court’s ruling does not condone or even address the ability of these rogue operations to continue under their so-called licenses. The Court clearly stated: ‘[I]t is against the public interest for individuals to violate the law.’”

Last month, the Tribe implemented a licensing system for recreational marijuana stores. It ordered seven dispensaries that had opened before the law was passed to shut down by July 1, but they didn’t.

As in New York state, growing and using cannabis for personal use is now legal in Akwesasne.

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