AKWESASNE — The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe filed a motion in Tribal Court on Friday to close unlicensed marijuana shops.

Three days after adopting an Adult Use Cannabis Ordinance, the Tribe filed civil actions in Tribal Court, naming seven cannabis dispensaries that illegally opened to sell recreational marijuana without being licensed or regulated by the Tribe, according to a press release from Brendan White, the Tribe’s director of communications.

The Tribe’s legal complaint and accompanying motions for temporary, preliminary and permanent injunctions seeks enforcement of the cease and desist orders previously filed in Tribal Court, according to White’s press release, which states the Tribe is seeking a court order for the seven dispensaries to be closed and vacated, as well as a civil fine of $1,000, imposed for each day that the seven dispensaries failed to obey the cease and desist orders.

The Tribe’s complaint alleges that the seven named dispensaries, Best Budz Dispensary, Bud Ease Dispensary, Golden Nugget Dispensary, Good Leaf Dispensary, Native Flower Dispensary, Sasta Budz Dispensary, and Smoke Show Dispensary, are in violation of Tribal Law by operating without a Tribal license.

After a Tribal community referendum in December 2019 authorized the Tribe to legalize adult use or recreational cannabis through the adoption of regulations controlling its commercial cultivation, processing, sale and use in Tribal territory, an ordinance was enacted on Monday by the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Council, following New York’s legalization of cannabis in March.

According to White’s press release, the seven dispensaries named in the filing proceeded to open and start selling cannabis after New York state’s legalization, not waiting for the Tribe to formally adopt its own ordinance.

The 2019 referendum did not approve the adoption of any regulations by any entity other than the Tribe, according to White’s press release.

As a result, the Tribe issued cease and desist orders, which granted time for each establishment to close within 30 days, according to White’s press release.

White’s news release states the cannabis ordinance, adopted on Monday, provided for dispensaries, not in compliance, a “last chance” to close, while they submitted a Tribal license application, with a deadline of Thursday to file their applications.

The seven dispensaries named in the filing continue to operate without a tribal license, leading to the enforcement action, according to White’s press release.

According to White’s press release, an additional three dispensaries have illegally opened without obtaining a tribal license, and have also been served with cease and desist orders, and if these three dispensary owners fail to comply with the court orders, the Tribe will file complaints and motions for injunctions against the three businesses as well.

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