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Former tribal chairman joins marijuana company

Former MHA Nation Tribal Chairman Tex Hall has joined a company focused on producing marijuana on reservations.

Native American Organics LLC will help tribes who want to enter the marijuana products industry set up legal growing and distribution systems. The company is a partnership between Hall's Red Tipped Arrow LLC and Wright Family Organics LLC, a California-based medical marijuana research and operations company.

The company will work on regulation and compliance issues with tribes located in states where medical and recreational marijuana is legal, helping to break down barriers to entry. It will help tribes make law governing the industry on their reservations.

In December, the U.S. Department of Justice extended marijuana legalization rights to tribal governments and, earlier this month, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill allowing agreements with tribes related to marijuana regulation.

“Throughout my career, I have fought for advancement and sovereignty of Indian tribes," Hall said in a statement. "And a lot of that time was focused on economic development because that is what our people need and deserve. As the legal and practical questions surrounding the participation of Indian tribes in the market continue to be settled, there is no doubt in my mind that tribes have a competitive advantage when it comes to cannabis production, processing and sale."

Hall said revenues for the legal marijuana industry have reached $11 billion and are projected to reach $30 billion in the next four years. 

“What really made an impact on me was the potential that cannabis has for healing and easing the pain of our people who suffer from PTSD across Indian Country. Not least among those who suffer are our veterans," Hall said.

North Dakota tribes would not be among those eligible for Native American Organics' services as marijuana use has not been legalized in the state. Though tribes do have the authority to produce on reservations, Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault has said the tribe would be unable to transport the product off the reservation to sell.

(Reach Jessica Holdman at 701-250-8261 or jessica.holdman@bismarcktribune.com.)

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