by Michael Nocella
Cayuga Corner store and Lakeside Trading in Union Springs – both operated by the Cayuga Nation – are selling retail cannabis products even though state regulations governing cannabis sales have not yet been developed.
According to FingerLakesDailyNews.com, the Cayuga Nation believes it does not need a state-issued license to sell cannabis because of its tribal sovereignty. On Tuesday, November 30, several customers at Cayuga Corner were purchasing cannabis products while a Cayuga Nation Police officer provided a secure presence behind the counter.
Pipekeepers Tobacco and Gas Store in Seneca Falls is also selling cannabis. The business is owned by an individual member of the Cayuga Nation but the property is owned by the Seneca-Cayuga Nation of Oklahoma.
The Cayuga Nation, a member of the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois, is an alliance of Native Nations – Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk and the Tuscarora – that reside in the state of New York. “The people of the Cayuga Nation have called the land surrounding Cayuga Lake their homeland for hundreds of years,” says the Nation’s official website. “Cayuga land lays between that of the Seneca Nation to the west and the Onondaga Nation to the east.”
The federally recognized sovereign Indian nation was established in 1794 by the Treaty of Canandaigua, the website explains. It has more than 500 members across the country.
The Nation’s sovereign and federally protected 64,015-acre reservation is located in Seneca and Cayuga Counties in the State of New York.
In addition to its two stores, the Cayuga Nation operates Lakeside Entertainment, a Class II Gaming facility; Gakwiyo (Cayuga for “good food”) Garden, an agricultural division;
the brand Arrow Head Hemp, locally grown at Gakwiyo Gardens; and Lakeview Cattle Company, the Nation’s Black Angus cow farm, according to the website.
While Cayuga Nation retail cannabis businesses have a head start on sales in New York State, non-sovereign-nation-dispensary hopefuls are patiently waiting to apply for their licenses. At the moment, only medical cannabis dispensaries are licensed for operation. Regulations for selling adult use cannabis are currently being developed by the New York Cannabis Control Board.