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Medical marijuana producer makes deal with Nevada tribe

Colton Shone
June 13, 2017 06:44 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The medical marijuana industry is a touchy subject. Depending on who you ask, expansion could be good for the state's economy.

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But what if tribal governments beat the state to the punch? There is a big push to do just that.

"What we got is a 22,000 square foot greenhouse. 7,000 square foot is dedicated to growth," said Eric Howard, the director of cultivation for Ultra Health. "The strains that we have in here are eight-week finishers," he said.

Ultra Health provides medical pot to five New Mexico counties. The company just entered into an agreement with the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe in Nevada.

"We are very much engaged with Indian tribes throughout the country who are looking to explore the possibilities to get into the cannabis industry," said Vice President of Business Development Leonard Salgado.

Salgado said that includes New Mexico Pueblos which could provide them with a huge economic boost.

"Tribal nations have unique sovereignty. They have a government within themselves, so they can look to create economic opportunities for their people," he said. "They can leverage their unique tax situation to help them."

For instance, right now a grow facility is limited to one license that will allow them to grow 450 plants. However, tribal governments may be able to increase the number of licenses to a single grow operation which would mean more plants.

This kind of action is already gaining momentum. Earlier this year, the Pueblo of Acoma partnered with Delaware-based Bright Green Group of Companies to house a 150-acre greenhouse designed to grow and research medicinal plants including marijuana.

Ultra Health officials said the state had $50 million in medical marijuana revenue last year and it's expected to exceed $80 million this year, saying the business will continue to grow.

Credits

Colton Shone

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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