Report says Foxwoods considering ‘mega-dispensary’ for marijuana as large as 25,000 square feet

Twitter icon
warehouse

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation is considering establishing a cannabis retail business among other possible options, its chairman said Tuesday without offering details.

A trade publication, Leafly, citing anonymous sources in the tribal government, reported that Foxwoods plans to open near the casino a “mega-dispensary” larger than 25,000 square feet as early as next spring.

Rodney Butler, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, said in an emailed statement that landmark legislation enacted this year by the General Assembly and Gov. Ned Lamont allowing recreational marijuana in Connecticut “recognizes the inherent sovereign rights of Native American tribes and the ability for the state to enter into (a) compact with tribes that would build a more collaborative working relationship in this new industry.”

“Our tribe is exploring all of the options created by the legislation and has no plans to publicly disclose at this time,” he said.

Max Reiss, a spokesman for Lamont, said adult use cannabis will by available by the end of next year.

“Spring is an aggressive schedule,” he said.

Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague, and a legislative ally of the Mashantucket Pequots and Mohegans, who run the Mohegan Sun, said she supports cannabis sales by the casinos. She also backs establishing a dispensary in Norwich, which is in her Senate district.

Residents in parts of 35 Connecticut cities and towns will have priority to receive business licenses in the emerging recreational marijuana industry, according to a plan adopted by state officials.

The Mashantucket Pequots asked state lawmakers as early as February to consider including in cannabis legislation authorization for the state and tribes to “enter into compacts concerning the regulation, production and sale of cannabis by Indian tribes in Connecticut.”

“Just as the state has expressed an interest in working with surrounding states regarding cannabis legalization, it would be mutually beneficial for the state and interested tribes to create a cohesive regulatory structure,” the tribe said in testimony to the legislature’s Judiciary Committee. “Mashantucket Pequot is well positioned to take on such a role, having developed and maintained with great success comprehensive regulatory schemes concerning gaming, environmental matters and a range of other issues on tribal lands.”

Much of the legislative debate over establishing a cannabis industry in Connecticut focused on “disproportionately impacted areas” based on unemployment and drug conviction rates. Residents of those neighborhoods, or those who grew up there, will pay lower licensing fees. And half of all marijuana business licenses must be reserved for applicants from those areas

 
Extending its business operations into cannabis sales would be the latest venture for the Mashantucket Pequots. Facing an increasingly crowded gambling market in the Northeast, Foxwoods is opening a casino in Puerto Rico.
 

Connecticut’s two casinos also negotiated a deal with the Lamont administration allowing a significant expansion of gambling that includes online Lottery sales and sports gambling at the casinos and at more than a dozen sites in Connecticut.

A cannabis retail site near Foxwoods would join numerous other ventures run by the Mashantucket Pequot tribe such as hotels, a zip-line, museum and arcade games.

e-mail icon Facebook icon Twitter icon LinkedIn icon Reddit icon
Rate this article: 
Article category: 
Regional Marijuana News: