Coachella Valley Tribe Will Grow Weed



A Coachella Valley Native American tribe is pushing forward with a plan to grow marijuana on 40 acres of land in Mecca.

In December, The Justice Department announced that it will not prevent Native American tribes from growing or selling marijuana on their sovereign lands, and now The Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indian Tribe has announced plans to grow marijuana on their land beginning in June.

“We want to be a part of this new industry that has a lot of medical potential for the people in the area,”  Mary Belardo, Executive Assistant for the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians told KESQ.

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The tribe won’t be selling the pot on the reservation, rather will set up distribution with dispensaries across the state.

The tribe believes that the new operation will create several hundred jobs and the profits from sales will go to fund projects on the reservation as well as education.

In January, another California tribe, The Pinoleville Pomo Nation, announced plans to grow medical marijuana, but those plans have been put on hold as The Mendocino County Sheriff has challenged the tribe saying that it is illegal.

The Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indian Tribe’s operation will be in partnership with Red Crow LLC, a Native American owned cannabis company.  Red Crow issued a press release with details of the partnership:

THERMAL, Calif., March 5, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Red Crow LLC, a Native American owned cannabis company, is proud to announce their partnership with Sovereignty Medical Tribal Corporation, a subsidiary of the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla. The partnership will develop a 51 percent tribally owned, 100 percent organic medical cannabis production and processing facility located on the Tribe’s 24,000 acre reservation in southern California.

Red Crow will provide 100 percent of the financing to design, build, and operate the industry’s first cannabis business campus. The business will supply medical cannabis free from contaminants – including molds, mildews, pesticides, heavy metals and other toxins – that is suitable for medical testing and product development by governments, educational institutions and pharmaceutical companies.

Torres Martinez’s Sovereignty Medical Tribal Corporation is proud to exercise its rights as a sovereign tribal nation to partner with Red Crow Cannabis to provide quality medication for patients across the state of California. The tribe is committed to adhering to all federal guidelines set in place for cultivating medicinal cannabis within the reservation boundaries,” said Joseph Mirelez, spokesperson for Sovereignty Medical Tribal Corporation.

“I am honored and humbled for the trust and confidence that Sovereignty Medical Tribal Corporation has put in Red Crow in becoming a true partner. It is a worthy calling to assist the tribe in exercising its sovereignty to bring tribally regulated, organic medicinal quality cannabis that medical professionals and families desperately need,” said Rick Hill, Chairman Emeritus of the National Indian Gaming Association and Red Crow partner.

“I applaud Torres Martinez’s leadership as a sovereign tribal nation for not only setting the gold standard for purity and integrity in cannabis production, but also creating jobs and economic development opportunities in the process. Moreover, they have trail blazed a business model that should become the standard for tribes in this new industry,” Hill said.

Established in 1891, the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indian Reservation is a federally recognized tribe located in the eastern Coachella Valley of Southern California. It is the mission of the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians to empower our people to achieve a better way of life and maintain tribal integrity and honor through responsive government.