New Mexico Governor, Pueblos Sign Intergovernmental Agreements on Cannabis
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New Mexico Governor, Pueblos Sign Intergovernmental Agreements on Cannabis

The state’s two agreements with the Pueblo of Pojoaque and the Pueblo of Picuris will support the tribes’ participation in the adult-use cannabis industry.

March 28, 2022

New Mexico’s governor has signed two intergovernmental agreements with the Pueblo of Pojoaque and the Pueblo of Picuris to support the tribes’ participation in the state’s legal cannabis industry.

The agreements, signed March 25 by New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Pueblo of Picuris Gov. Craig Quanchello and Pueblo of Pojoaque Gov. Jenelle Roybal, will “support the Pueblos taking part in the recreational cannabis industry, driving economic development and setting guidelines for the safe production and sale of cannabis while preventing federal enforcement on their tribal lands,” according to a press release from Lujan Grisham’s office.

The Cannabis Regulation Act, which Lujan Grisham signed into law in April 2021 to legalize adult-use cannabis in New Mexico, authorized intergovernmental agreements to enable the state’s tribal communities to participate in the market.

“The economic opportunities provided by the recreational and medical cannabis industries are truly game-changing, and sovereign tribal nations should benefit alongside the state,” Lujan Grisham said in a public statement. “With these agreements, the Pueblo of Pojoaque and the Pueblo of Picuris will benefit from this exciting new industry, which is projected to bring $300 million in sales annually and create 11,000 jobs in New Mexico.”

The intergovernmental agreements aim to support public health and safety while maximizing cross-jurisdiction market opportunities, according to the press release.

“I am pleased that the intergovernmental agreement respects the Pueblo’s sovereignty,” Quanchello said in a public statement. “This creates a meaningful opportunity for the Pueblo to engage in well-regulated and coordinated legal cannabis markets for the benefit and protection of our community, including a framework for ongoing collaboration with the state to protect our shared interests.”

Since cannabis remains illegal under federal law, the intergovernmental agreements are necessary to prevent federal law enforcement action on tribal lands where communities want to participate in New Mexico’s state-legal adult-use cannabis industry, according to the press release.

“We’re very satisfied with this intergovernmental agreement and our ability to work together with the Department on this collaborative effort to maintain a robust regulatory environment for cannabis,” Roybal said in a public statement. “Cannabis is an exciting new opportunity to diversify our economic development, and revenues from a Pueblo cannabis enterprise will support tribal governmental programs and the surrounding community.”

Other states, including Nevada and Washington, have intergovernmental agreements with tribal communities, but New Mexico’s agreements are unique, according to the press release, because they not only formalize pro-tribal policies, but they also provide for ongoing meetings and consultations between the state and the tribes.

“New Mexico, the Pueblo of Picuris and the Pueblo of Pojoaque are establishing a new, positive way forward together,” Lujan Grisham said. “Rather than just establishing lines and limits, then each community going its own way, these agreements create real partnerships that provide the framework to meet and discuss in detail the challenges and opportunities we face together in New Mexico.”

The state’s first commercial adult-use cannabis sales are expected to launch April 1.