420MEDIA Trailblazers In Cannabis: Muriel Young Bear, Bear Cub Consulting

Trailblazers In Cannabis

Digital marketing agency 420MEDIA and the Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) have joined forces to create a series highlighting entrepreneurs trailblazing the cannabis scene. Each week, we profile a noteworthy business pioneer and ask each 5 questions. This week we talk to trailblazer, Muriel Young Bear, Consultant at Bear Cub Consulting, LLC.

Tell us about your Company

My traditional name is Mekw iid (Me’qu’ish), or Bear Head. I am a Bear Clan member of the Meskwaki Tribe in Tama, Iowa, Haskell Indian Nations Alumni, current board member of the Planted Association of Kansas, and Iowa Hemp Association board member.

I specialize in Economic development and diversification in Indian communities. I started my company to contribute my business background to Tribal Nations, specifically. I founded Bear Cub Consulting in 2017, where I work specifically with tribal communities to diversify Tribal operations, investments into the emerging Hemp industry. I also work in tribal entrepreneurship & small business development for tribal members. I am passionate about the sustainable use of land and resources, as well as strengthening sovereignty for all tribal nations and local economies. I began studying Hemp markets, supply chains, and business models as a graduate student at the University of Kansas in 2016, finding ways to apply them to Indian Country.

Screenshot 2019-01-08 07.35.50Why did you choose the cannabis/hemp business?

Historically, Indian tribes had a close relationship with this plant, specifically fiber. Hempstead Project Heart, founded by John Trudell and managed by Tribal Hemp advocate Marc Grignon, has uncovered historical Hemp artifacts such as Traditional twine bags, prisoner hand ties, fabrics for our bandolier bags and our bow strings. Our relationship with the Low THC fiber plant, is apart of our traditional history. I am excited to see this industry happen in Indian Country!

I am also an advocate for local, organic food systems, slow food, and food sovereignty. This Hemp seed is a perfect superfood and is highly nutritious. With food items such as hemp meal, hemp milk, hemp seed, and hemp flour, this is one of my PERSONAL favorite usages of the Hemp plant. It is also how I found Industrial Hemp!

I strongly believe this plant is MORE apart of our culture than we realized, or simply forgot. I want our tribal governments to be confident with economic diversification into this industry, it is in tune with our beliefs about sustainability. Along with the incredible history we have with the plant, the environmental benefits far exceed what we are invested in today! I would love to see us move away from fossil fuels, tobacco, timber and grow sustainable and renewable resources like Hemp! 

MURIELyoungbear3

What change will your firm address in the industry? Does it address an unmet need? 

I am looking for partnerships, between states, tribes, and farmers to create a strong domestic supply chain for future generations. Right now, we all are aware of the lack of infrastructure in the US, and I know tribes can provide capital, as well as tax incentives and vast amounts of land for large-scale products like fiber and seed. Now that “And tribes” has been included into the revised 2019 Farm Bill, the possibilities are only the limits of our imagination.

Industrial usages in fiber and seed constitute 90% of its overall potential, versus CBD Flower. When I think of HEMP, I think of the Hemp American Flag. I think of Henry Fords’ Model T reinforced with hemp fiber, and the Hemp oil it ran on. I think of the FIRST Levi Strauss hemp Jean! I am highly interested in other areas of the Industrial Hemp market and I would like to see tribal councils start investing in the domestic supply chain, on tribal lands. Diversify our business investments into something more sustainable and renewable. Which aligns with our belief as caretakers of the earth.

What has been the reaction to your product/service/technology?

I provided education and advocacy for the last 2 years in illegal midwest states. Ever since I launched my “Hemp is the way” social media awareness campaign in 2016, I have received such an AMAZING response from both Tribal Members, Tribal Councils, and Hemp Industry leaders alike! I have been invited to discuss Tribal Economics and how we would diversity into Industrial Hemp on several occasions.  I feel many people would love to see tribal economies thrive, as a way to strengthen sovereignty.

Are there any upcoming milestones for your company?

I will be attending at the 2nd annual Tribal Green symposium, in Las Vegas. Feb. 19-20 at the Paiute Golf Resort. This will be the FIRST chance tribal leaders will be able to take investments seriously, with the support of the Farm Bill. Excited to consult with attendees.

I am also currently a CSA (community supported agriculture) coordinator at a local, organic Kansas farm. 50 acres USDA certified organic. We are applying for my FIRST license to grow Industrial Hemp. This is my first year with the plant in the ground, It has been a long road, but now the real work begins! Stay tuned for updates

Where can readers learn more?

Please visit my facebook or LinkedIn page, all my upcoming projects will be available as we enter the 2019 growing season.

Ke ti’ bi – Thank you

Raid On Tribal Marijuana Farms Underscores Uncertainty Over Pot Laws

CALIFORNIA: Native American tribes’ efforts to cash in on California’s “green rush” by launching large-scale marijuana growing operations appear to have been premature and ill-advised if recent law enforcement raids on tribal lands are any indication.

Pot raids conducted on the Pinoleville Pomo Nation’s Rancheria north of Ukiah this week and on the Pit River and Alturas tribes’ properties in Modoc County in July serve as reminders that such endeavors remain mired in a morass of laws that continue to make cannabis cultivation a risky business.

“It’s a cautionary tale,” said Anthony Broadman, an attorney with Galanda Broadman, a Seattle-based, Native American-owned law firm that represents tribes.

“It’s too bad to see people going in without really understanding the rules,” said Dale Gieringer, of California NORML, the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Squaxin, Suquamish Tribes Working On Plans To Sell Marijuana

WASHINGTON: A building nearing completion across the street from Little Creek Casino and Resort is a bet that marijuana will be the next booming business on Indian reservations.

If all goes as planned, the site between Shelton and Olympia will be a store where the Squaxin Island Tribe will sell the drug.

A hands-off federal policy on pot sales in Indian Country, announced in December by the Obama administration, has generated a lot of interest but few takers so far. Now at least two Washington tribes want to join the newly legal industry.

The Suquamish Tribe in northern Kitsap County could be the first, with the state Liquor and Cannabis Board due to vote on a proposed agreement Monday. The Squaxin could follow close behind. Both governments have been negotiating with Gov. Jay Inslee’s office to hammer out tribal compacts.

Why American Indian Tribes Are Getting Into the Marijuana Business

SOUTH DAKOTA:  This New Year’s Eve, Tony Reider wants to throw a party unlike any his South Dakota tribe has seen.

There will be live music, food, outdoor games—and, floating over the revelry, a haze of marijuana smoke, from a first-of-its-kind pot lounge that is set to open by the end of the year, said Reider, the tribal president of the Flandreau Santee Sioux in Flandreau, S.D.

That pot lounge—modeled on an Amsterdam coffee shop, where customers would be able to buy and smoke up to 2 grams of marijuana a day—would be illegal anywhere else in South Dakota, which, like most U.S. states, bans the sale, possession and public smoking of pot.

Will Casino Country Become Cannabis Country?

WASHINGTON:  Last December the Justice Department gave a yellow light to marijuana legalization on tribal land, saying it would treat reservations like states in deciding how to enforce the Controlled Substances Act. Two months later, the very first Tribal Marijuana Conference, held at the Tulalip Resort Casino in Washington, attracted about 250 people, including representatives from 75 or so Indian tribes. They listened intently as speakers (including me) discussed the pros and cons of legalization.

“A great deal more are considering this than I thought would be considering it,” Ken Meshigaud, chairman of the Hannahville Indian Community in Michigan, told the Associated Press. “From an economic standpoint, it may be a good venture the tribes can get into.” Because of their sovereign status, Indian tribes are uniquely positioned to profit from the erosion of marijuana prohibition, although they still face some daunting legal pitfalls.

Start with the federal ban on marijuana, which makes anyone involved in growing or selling cannabis a felon, regardless of his status under state or tribal law. So far the Justice Department has allowed licensed marijuana businesses to operate in states that have legalized the drug for medical or recreational use. But the feds have not made any promises, and that policy is completely discretionary. It can be changed at any time, by this administration or the next.

 

Tribal Marijuana Conference: ‘A 10-Year Window For Tribes To Capitalize’

WASHINGTON:  On Saturday, February 28 some 75 tribal leaders from across the country met to discuss forming the first “Tribal Cannabis Association” at the Tulalip Resort Casino on the Tulalip Reservation in Washington State.

This followed a packed day on February 27 of “Tribal Marijuana Conference” presentations and panels with speakers as diverse as former U.S. Attorney Troy Eid, present chair of President Barack Obama’s National Indian Law and Order Commission, to the city attorneys of both Seattle and Boulder, Colorado who gave in-depth overviews of how implementation is proceeding in their respective cities of state laws legalizing marijuana possession and usage.

Lawmakers Want To Work With Tribes On Regulations For Legal Pot

WASHINGTON:  Now that tribes can legalize marijuana on their reservations, some lawmakers want to allow the state to set up agreements with tribes to address potential issues, such as law enforcement and ways licensed marijuana businesses could operate across reservation borders.

A bill with bipartisan support would give the governor the authority to negotiate legal agreements, known as compacts, similar to those now used for gambling and gasoline taxes.

While some tribes are eager to legalize marijuana and perhaps pursue it as an economic opportunity, others, including the Yakama Nation, remain strongly opposed to the drug. 

After the state legalized marijuana, the Yakama Nation announced that it would not allow possession, sale or production on the Yakamas’ 1.2 million-acre reservation.

 

Seneca Lawyer Sponsors Conference To Tap Into Legal Marijuana Sales

WASHINGTON:  Now that the federal government says it no longer will prosecute marijuana sales on Indian lands as long as tribes take steps to control the sales, some tribes are contemplating how to cash in on the marijuana business.

That is why a former president of the Seneca Nation of Indians is sponsoring a national conference for Indian tribes that hope to someday cash in on legalized marijuana business opportunities.

The Tribal Marijuana Conference is scheduled for Feb. 27 at the Tulatip Resort Casino, near Seattle, Wash. Robert Odawi Porter, a Salamanca lawyer who served as Seneca president from 2008 until November 2010, is the co-sponsor and organizer of the event.

Porter said there has been growing interest among tribes all over the nation since October, when the U.S. Justice Department issued a “policy statement” that it no longer will prosecute marijuana sales on Indian lands as long as tribes take steps to control the sales.

 

American Indian Tribes To Discuss Legal Pot At Conference

WASHINGTON:  American Indian tribes wrestling with whether to legalize marijuana have scheduled a national conference on the topic next month in Washington state.

Organizer Robert Odawi Porter, a tribal law expert and former president of Seneca Nation in New York, says there’s been a lot of discussion among tribes since the Justice Department announced in December that it would allow them to grow and sell marijuana.

A few tribes have expressed interest in the legal pot business. But for many, concerns about substance abuse are paramount. Porter says the conference will explore the legal, business, social and cultural questions facing tribes when it comes to marijuana.

The Feb. 27 event at the Tulalip Resort Casino is being co-sponsored by Seattle attorneys Hilary Bricken and Robert McVay, who have hosted other conferences on legal pot.

Tribe To Look At Medicinal Marijuana, Hemp

MINNESOTA:  The Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians Tribal Council unanimously approved this week a study on how medicinal marijuana and industrial hemp could benefit the Red Lake Nation’s economic development.

However, serious doubts were raised about growing or use of recreational marijuana.

Many American Indian tribes began discussing the potential of marijuana and hemp on reservations after the federal Department of Justice released a memo Dec. 11 in response to some tribes requesting guidance on the enforcement of the Controlled Substance Act on tribal lands by the U.S. Attorneys’ offices.

“It came seemingly out of nowhere, the federal government says Indians can go ahead and grow marijuana,” said Michael Meuers, the Red Lake Band’s public relations representative. “Most tribes across the country are looking at this.”