VERONA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – The cannabis industry is continuing to grow across Central New York, and now the Oneida Indian Nation is starting its own operation – from seed to sale – starting with a new 50,000-square-foot cannabis cultivation and production facility.

Construction on the new, full-scale facility starts next month on Hill Road in Verona, and it is important to note that this facility, and future retail locations, will all be located exclusively on Nation lands.

“We will ultimately run from seed to sale,” said Joel Barkin, VP of Communications for Oneida Nation Enterprises.

“So, from planting to packaging, to retail distribution, every aspect of a cannabis operation,” he said, “And it’s really a way for the Oneida Indian Nation to diversify its revenue streams.”

The nation’s cannabis cultivation, production, and sales will be regulated by the Oneida Indian Nation Cannabis Commission, which is an independent regulatory oversight body that the nation will create to oversee the safety and compliance of the business.

The nation has adopted cannabis ordinances and regulations that impose governance standards that are comparable to the New York State cannabis laws.

For example, comparable age restrictions, limitations on purchase amounts, employee licensure requirements, and assurances of product safety and quality.

“Pursuant to the settlement agreement the Oneida Indian Nation reached with New York State in 2013, that allows us to move forward with this cannabis operation,” explained Barkin.

The Oneida Indian Nation will charge and collect taxes at the same level as New York State and will use the proceeds exclusively for tribal government programs.

“All money generated from this endeavor will go toward supporting Oneida Indian Nation member programming,” said Barkin. “So, think housing, healthcare, education, cultural preservation, and so forth.”

But cannabis remains federally illegal, meaning the nation will need to find another system of banking for their new endeavor.

“It’s a quickly changing market, so by the time we are ready to be doing retail and sales, we’ll have a better sense, then, of where the regulatory framework is at that moment,” he said.  

Again, construction on the new facility begins next month, and retail locations are set to open by late 2023.