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Woodland Lottery player wins $9 million SuperLotto Plus® jackpot!
Big Wins

 in the Bay Area!
Half-Billion Dollar Mega Millions® Ticket Sold in San Diego Claimed

Suspected theft of $10 million dollar California Lottery Ticket in Vacaville
U.S. Congress take aim at iGaming and sports betting
Lucky break leads to $1 million win in Louisiana!
Lottery pool wins $4.9 Million Powerball® ticket sold in Chico!
For just $5 Vets can get acknowledgement on drivers license
How California is blocking Native Americans from the weed business

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Woodland Lottery player wins $9 million SuperLotto Plus® jackpot!

    SACRAMENTO—A California Lottery player who purchased a SuperLotto Plus ticket in Woodland has won the $9 million jackpot. The winning ticket matched all six numbers (24-5-8-39-13 and Mega number 23) from a recent Saturday night, September 3rd draw.

      The winning ticket was purchased at the Raley’s store located in Woodland (Yolo County). We will not know who the winner is until he or she is verified by the California Lottery’s Security and Law Enforcement Division (SLED). Raley’s will also collect a retailer bonus of $45,000 just for selling the winning ticket. (The retailer bonus is not subtracted from the winner’s prize.)

      All winners are strongly encouraged to sign the back of their lucky tickets in ink, keep them in a safe place where they’ll remember, and familiarize themselves with the Lottery’s Winner’s Handbook, which can be found on the California Lottery website at www.calottery.com. The Woodland winner has 180 days from the date of the draw to claim his or her prize. For a list of California Lottery District Office locations, please also check the California Lottery website.

      SuperLotto Plus is California’s own in-state jackpot game. Players pick five numbers from 1 to 47 plus a Mega number from 1 to 27. The draw takes place at Lottery Headquarters in Sacramento on Wednesdays and Saturdays, right after draw entry closes at 7:45 p.m. PDT. Tickets are $1 and can be purchased from any of the more than 23,000 California Lottery retailers or one of the more than 4,000 Lottery Lucky Retailers. You must be at least 18 years old to purchase a ticket, play, or claim a prize. Please visit the California Lottery’s SuperLotto Plus site for more information.

      The California Lottery’s mission is to provide supplemental funding to California public schools, including kindergarten and grades 1-12, community colleges, the California State University, the University of California, and other California public educational entities.  In fiscal year 2017-18 the Lottery transferred more than $1.7 billion to public education.  This funding translates to an average of about $211 per student for students attending California’s public schools.  During the same period the Lottery generated almost $7 billion in sales, more than 95% of which goes back to the community in the form of prize payments, retailer commissions and bonuses, and contributions to education.  The California Lottery urges its customers to play responsibly.  Problem gambling resources are available to anyone at 1-800-GAMBLER. 

            Remember to ask the volunteers about joining the Vanden Winners Club. Vanden Viking Bingo sessions are played at the bingo hall located at 190 Bella Vista Road,  Vacaville. See us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BingoGamingNews! And like us now on FaceBook at Bingogamingnews.

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Suspected theft of $10 million dollar California Lottery Ticket in Vacaville

     VACAVILLE—(from reports by the Vacaville Police Dept.). On January 7th, theft of scratch-off Lottery Ticket was reported and revealed a $10 million winning scratch off ticket had been purchased in Vacaville.

     Back on December 20th, a Vacaville shopper went to the Lucky’s Grocery store on Peabody Rd. to purchase a $30 Scratcher Lottery Ticket with hopes of winning a little extra cash for the holidays. The ticket turned out to be a winner—but he thought it was worth $10,000.

     He returned home and shared this wonderful news with his two roommates.

     The next morning he went to the Lottery’s District Office in Sacramento to collect his winnings, but was told his ticket was not only, not a winner, but had been altered. He suspected one of his roommates must have stolen his winning ticket while he was sleeping and immediately reported the theft to the police department. The next day his suspicions were proven true when his 35-year-old roommate, Adul Saosongyang attempted to cash in the winning ticket at the Lottery’s Sacramento District Office. Adul was told his winning ticket was not worth $10,000 dollars, but was actually worth $10 million dollars!The next morning he went to the Lottery’s District Office in Sacramento to collect his winnings, but was told his ticket was not only, not a winner, but had been altered.

     He suspected one of his roommates must have stolen his winning ticket while he was sleeping and immediately reported the theft to the police department.

     The next day his suspicions were proven true when his 35-year-old roommate, Adul Saosongyang attempted to cash in the winning ticket at the Lottery’s Sacramento District Office. Adul was told his winning ticket was not worth $10,000 dollars, but was actually worth $10 million dollars!

     At this point, the Lottery was unaware this ticket had been reported stolen and began their administrative investigation that is done on all winnings over $600. When the Lottery Investigator went to Lucky in Vacaville to obtain video surveillance footage of the original purchase they were told the ticket might be stolen. This is when the Lottery Investigator and a Vacaville PD Detective began comparing notes and working together on this theft investigation. They determined the roommate had purchased a similar Scratcher Lottery Ticket, altered it, and swapped it with the winning ticket.

     On Monday, January 7th, the Lottery Investigator invited Adul to the Lottery’s Sacramento District Office to collect his winnings, but instead of him celebrating his big win he was arrested by Vacaville PD Detectives who had obtained an arrest warrant for him for Grand Theft. He was booked into Sacramento County Jail and will be transferred to the Solano County Jail later this week.

     At this point, the Lottery was unaware this ticket had been reported stolen and began their administrative investigation that is done on all winnings over $600. When the Lottery Investigator went to the Lucky’s store on Peabody Road in Vacaville to obtain video surveillance footage of the original purchase, they were told the ticket might be stolen. This is when the Lottery Investigator and a Vacaville PD Detective began comparing notes and working together on this theft investigation.

     They determined the roommate had purchased a similar Scratcher Lottery Ticket, altered it, and swapped it with the winning ticket.

     On Monday, January 7th, the Lottery Investigator invited Adul to the Lottery’s Sacramento District Office to collect his winnings, but instead of him celebrating his big win he was arrested by Vacaville PD Detectives who had obtained an arrest warrant for him for Grand Theft. He was booked into Sacramento County Jail and will be transferred to the Solano County Jail later in the week.

     The next morning he went to the Lottery’s District Office in Sacramento to collect his winnings, but was told his ticket was not only, not a winner, but had been altered. He suspected one of his roommates must have stolen his winning ticket while he was sleeping and immediately reported the theft to the police department. The next day his suspicions were proven true when his 35-year-old roommate, Adul Saosongyang attempted to cash in the winning ticket at the Lottery’s Sacramento District Office. Adul was told his winning ticket was not worth $10,000 dollars, but was actually worth $10 million dollars!

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U.S. Congress take aim at iGaming and sports betting

     WASHINGTON, D.C.Republican Orrin Hatch and Democrat Charles Schumer (l.) have introduced in the Senate legislation that would give the federal government the last word on state laws regulating sports betting. It’s not known how the measure will fare in the new Congress. But Schumer, the Senate’s minority leader, says there is bipartisan support for federal oversight. And the Department of Justice is reportedly set to reverse the 2011 ruling that led to the legalization of iGaming.

     Two new battlefronts have opened up in the federal government’s apparent determination to assert control from Washington over a burgeoning national market in legal sports betting.

     In Congress, retiring Senator Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, has reached across the aisle to join with Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer of New York in introducing a bill setting minimum standards for states legalizing sports betting and empowering the U.S. Attorney General’s Office to reject regulatory schemes that don’t measure up.

     The “Sports Wagering Market Integrity Act of 2018” was immediately hailed by the National Football League and Major League Baseball as an important step in protecting their contests from the threat of gambling-related corruption amid an explosion of new state laws aimed at cashing in on a May ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court that nullified a decades-old federal ban on the industry. Seven states and the District of Columbia have already legalized sports betting in the months since the high court’s ruling, and several more have pre-filed authorizing measures for early 2019. Experts predict as many as 30 states will legalize in the next five years.

     “The threats posed to the integrity of sporting contests cannot be confined within state borders,” said NFL executive Jocelyn Moore. “Without continued federal guidance and oversight, we are very concerned that sports leagues and state governments alone will not be able to fully protect the integrity of sporting contests and guard against the harms Congress has long recognized as being associated with sports betting.”

     Major League Baseball concurred in a statement citing “a clear need for a set of consistent, nationwide integrity standards to protect the sports that millions of Americans love”.

     Promptly condemning the bill as an “unprecedented and inappropriate expansion of federal involvement in the gaming industry,” the American Gaming Association, which represents the commercial casino industry in Washington, said, “This bill is the epitome of a solution in search of a problem.”

     Sara Slane, the trade group’s senior vice president of public affairs, said the bill intrudes in areas that “can, and should, be decided by marketplace negotiations between private businesses and cooperative agreements among jurisdictions,” where “state and tribal regulators have decades of experience effectively overseeing gaming operations”.

     The bill’s key provisions would allow online sports betting and betting on professional and college sports and the Olympics but not on other amateur sports. A non-profit National Sports Wagering Clearinghouse would be created to receive and share betting data and facilitate the monitoring of suspicious activities among operators, regulators, sports organizations and law enforcement. Finally, the bill would provide federal funding from betting taxes for programs to address problem gambling and would establish a nationwide self-exclusion list of admitted problem gamblers.

     Significantly, the bill would not require bookmakers to pay royalties to sports leagues for their game data. But it does require the use of officially licensed league data at least until 2024с?a provision which the gaming industry, the NBA, MLB, the NHL and leaders in data service and security monitoring such as SportRadar have already anticipated with a series of high-level private-sector partnerships governing how sports organizations are paid for their data and how it gets distributed to operators.

     Hatch said, “The legislation we’ve introduced today is the culmination of eight months of high-level meetings, discussions and negotiations and will serve as a placeholder for the next Congress should they decide to continue working to address these issues.”

     Whether the bill has enough support to move forward in the incoming Congress remains to be seen. Schumer has vowed to push hard for it and noted that his co-sponsorship with Hatch indicates there is bipartisan support for regulation at the federal level.

     “The time is now to establish a strong national integrity standard for sports betting that will protect consumers and the games themselves from corruption,” he said.

     The second front extends beyond sports betting to include a possible ban on all forms of online gaming.

     News reports say the U.S. Department of Justice is preparing to reverse a 2011 opinion from the department’s Office of Legal Counsel and declare that the Wire Act—passed more than 50 years ago but still the main federal law governing the transmission of betting information electronically—is not limited to prohibiting sports betting, as the OLC had ruled.

     It was not known at press time exactly what the new opinion would say, nor when, or if, it would be promulgated.

     The OLC issued its original opinion in response to requests from several states interested at the time in selling lottery tickets online within their borders. One of its effects, though, was to clear a legal path for interstate compacts among states looking to increase the size of the pools of online poker players available to them. Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware joined in such a market-sharing deal several years ago.

     Former New Jersey Senator Ray Lesniak said the state’s congressional delegation should fight the move.

     “One would expect that other states would stand up for their states’ rights, now that New Jersey has led the way, both with internet gaming and sports betting, and they can see how beneficial it is,” he told the website USBets. “Internet gaming was responsible for keeping the lights on in some casinos, and sports betting over the internet is the greatest revenue producer for our casinos, as well as the state of New Jersey. Meddling around with that would cause us grave concern.”

     If the change moves ahead as reported it would mark “a titanic shift in the Department of Justice’s view of the Wire Act,” said John Holden, a professor at Oklahoma State University specializing in the Wire Act and issues related to sports betting.

     The OLC issued its original opinion in response to requests from several states interested at the time in selling lottery tickets online within their borders. One of its effects, though, was to clear a legal path for interstate compacts among states looking to increase the size of the pools of online poker players available to them. Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware joined in such a market-sharing deal several years ago.

     Former New Jersey Senator Ray Lesniak said the state’s congressional delegation should fight the move.

     “One would expect that other states would stand up for their states’ rights, now that New Jersey has led the way, both with internet gaming and sports betting, and they can see how beneficial it is,” he told the website USBets. “Internet gaming was responsible for keeping the lights on in some casinos, and sports betting over the internet is the greatest revenue producer for our casinos, as well as the state of New Jersey. Meddling around with that would cause us grave concern.”

     If the change moves ahead as reported it would mark “a titanic shift in the Department of Justice’s view of the Wire Act,” said John Holden, a professor at Oklahoma State University specializing in the Wire Act and issues related to sports betting.

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Half-Billion Dollar Mega Millions® Ticket Sold in San Diego Claimed

    SACRAMENTOLaarni Bibal didn’t think much of it when she bought her ticket for the Mega Millions draw on June 7th. That is, until the next day when she heard that a California ticket had hit the jackpot and was purchased at her usual retail store. “My heart started beating really fast!” the lucky winner explained.

      Bibal purchased her ticket, as she often does, at Sorrento Deli Mart, which is located in San Diego.  Her numbers chosen through Quick Pick (27-68-17-19-40 and the Mega number 2) matched all six numbers chosen and won her the jackpot prize of $522 million!

      Bibal chose the cash option and will receive $340 million (before federal taxes). Sorrento Deli Mart will also collect a retailer bonus of $1 million just for selling the winning ticket. (This bonus is not subtracted from the winner’s prize.)

      Bibal took some time before claiming her ticket and used the Lottery’s Winners Handbook for information on becoming California newest millionaire. She plans to pay off debt and buy a house with her prize.  When asked where she kept the ticket while waiting to claim, she replied, “In a secret hiding place.”  When asked where that was, she said, “I can’t tell you. The secret hiding place is still a secret!”

      Mega Millions is played in 44 states (plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands). Draw times are Tuesdays and Fridays at 8 p.m. PDT. The draw closes at 7:45 p.m., so players must buy their tickets by then to qualify for that draw. Tickets cost $2 and can be purchased from any of the more than 23,000 California Lottery retailers or one of the more than 4,000 Lottery Lucky retailers. Please visit the California Lottery website at www.calottery.com for more information on how to play.

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You can order all of the winning California 6-51/Super Lotto numbers from the very beginning in December , 1991 for $25.95. See: California Super Lotto.

For just $5 Vets can get acknowledgement on drivers license

            Solano County’s 33,500 veterans and the 11,000 veterans in Napa County are now eligible to receive a driver’s license acknowledging their service in the United States Armed Forces, through a new statewide program.

Beginning Nov. 12, the Department of Motor Vehicles will be issuing driver’s licenses with the word “veteran” on them to those who qualify, Napa and Solano County officials said.

Napa veterans can visit the Napa County Veterans Service Office (CVSO), at 650 Imperial Way in downtown Napa, and complete the DMV application.

Veterans will need a certified copy of their discharge papers (DD-214) showing they received anything other than a dishonorable discharge or that they served in a Guard or Reserve component and were mobilized for federal active duty.

            Solano County vets can stop by the Solano County Veterans Service Office for an official application form, which they can take to the DMV starting Nov. 12 to get the new veteran driver’s license. Solano County Director of Veterans Services Ted Puntillo asks that vets bring a copy of their DD-214 paperwork to get the form.

            The new driver’s license means veterans will no longer need to carry their discharge papers to show proof of military service, officials said.

            The CVSO will verify the documents and approve the application, which can then be submitted to the DMV. There is a $5 fee to have the veteran designation placed on a driver’s license, on top of the normal renewal fees, officials said. Veterans who are not due for renewal can obtain a new license for a $35 replacement fee.

The CVSO can order copies of discharge papers. Veterans who visit the office can also discuss their eligibility for federal, state and local benefits. To date, Solano County Vet Services has already helped more than 100 vets obtain the application form, officials said.

            For more Napa information, call 707-253-4558. In Solano, call, (707) 784-6590. Contact Rachel Raskin-Zrihen at (707) 553-6824.

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Defending direct democracy, defending taxpayers

CALIFORNIA—The powers of direct democracy — initiative, referendum and recall — are powerful tools to control slow-moving or corrupt politicians. These powers are enshrined in the California Constitution for reasons that are just as compelling in 2019 as they were in 1911 when Gov. Hiram Johnson, seeking to suppress the absolute control the railroads had over the state Capitol, pushed to give ordinary citizens a “legislative battering ram” — using the language of the Supreme Court — to address issues that for whatever reason the Legislature refuses to address.

Political elites hate the initiative process. From their perspective it allows the great unwashed and unsophisticated to deal with matters such as taxation, victims’ rights, insurance and most importantly political reform. These are issues over which politicians strongly desire to exercise a legislative monopoly.

Like any political process, however, direct democracy can be abused. Some matters are indeed complicated and not well suited to a sound-bite campaign. Also, special interests with a lot of money can overwhelm the airwaves with TV and radio ads to convince a majority of voters (especially in a low-turnout election) to pass something they might later regret. Nonetheless, for taxpayers, direct democracy remains one of the few tools we have to protect ourselves.

Landmark initiative measures such as Propositions 13 and 218 have given taxpayers the kind of protection against greedy government entities that we would never have obtained but for rights granted through direct democracy. But taxpayers must do more than propose initiatives and convince voters to enact them. We must also defend them in court against never-ending assaults. For years, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has maintained a potent litigation capacity with three full-time lawyers and access to dozens more willing to defend not just taxpayer-sponsored initiatives but the very power of direct democracy itself.

And so it is that HJTA finds itself back before the California Supreme Court on an important direct democracy case. The high court just granted review in a case where Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association represents the taxpayers. In Wilde v. City of Dunsmuir, the court must decide whether local voters, using their referendum power, can force a water rate increase onto the ballot for their approval or rejection.

California is one of 23 states whose constitution grants voters the power to referend statutes and ordinances. A referendum is a proposal to repeal a law that was enacted by the Legislature, a city council or a county board of supervisors before it goes into effect. It is placed on the ballot by a citizen petition.

Ratepayers in the city of Dunsmuir collected enough signatures on a petition to qualify a referendum to approve or reject a water rate increase. The city refused to place the referendum on the ballot, arguing that the referendum power does not apply to taxes and that water rates are a form of taxation. It also asserted that Proposition 218, which reinforced the voters’ right to repeal or reduce fees using the initiative power, somehow implied an exclusion of the referendum power as a means of affecting fees.

Not surprisingly, the lower court rejected these arguments and ruled in favor of taxpayers, ordering the city to call an election on the ratepayers’ referendum. Now that the case is before California’s highest court, HJTA is hopeful that the ultimate decision stays consistent with established precedent recognizing that the powers of direct democracy are a “precious right.”

Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

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Lottery pool wins $4.9 Million Powerball® ticket sold in Chico!

     CHICO, CA.—A tightknit 11-member California Lottery pool has claimed the lucky Powerball ticket sold in Chico that won $4.9 million in the draw on August 1! The men and women, all current or former workers of Northern Valley Indian Health, say they have been playing Lottery together for four years and have a connection that extends beyond winning.     

     The group, led by their lottery captain Emilio Montoya, claimed their ticket at the California Lottery’s Sacramento District Office on August 7. They explained that they each chip in $3 a week so Montoya can purchase Powerball and SuperLotto Plus® tickets, and that allows them to share in the fun and to dream. “You walk by people that are playing as well, and you know, there’s always that glimmer of hope in their eyes,” Janine Cuellar said about the shared excitement on draw days. 

     To get this win, Montoya was using random numbers he picked on his own a while back and has simply continued playing them. “It hit, you know. I can’t get over it,” Montoya said in disbelief. “Yeah, man. It’s a big, big deal.”

     The group’s ticket matched the numbers: 5-38-22-58-32, missing only the red Powerball number 26. They split a prize of $4,927,915 (before federal taxes). Montoya and another co-worker discovered the win the next day. “We hugged, we laughed, and we hugged. And we’re like, there’s no one in the building to tell!” Jack Cook said of their early morning exchange. 

     What followed was a flurry of phone calls to the others, the majority of whom were convinced they were being pranked by their workmates, as is typical of the group. “Everybody was bouncing off the walls. And finally, you just kind of have to believe, okay, this isn’t a cruel joke,” Brandi McFarland said with a smile. 

     A win of this magnitude means something different to each of them. There was talk of purchasing a home, paying off bills or mortgages and taking a trip with the family. “I used to joke with [Emilio] that I had dreams that they were going to call me one day. Never in a million years did I think my dream would come true,” Ebelia Villegas said.

     Amidst the laughter and celebration, Sherron Prosser took a moment to reflect. She no longer works with the group, but remains connected through their Lottery pool. August 1 is significant in that it is also the date that 12 years ago her daughter perished in a car accident. “I think part of it is my daughter saying, ‘Don’t grieve anymore. You can’t grieve this day, you’ve got to celebrate a little bit,’” Prosser said, before allowing herself to join the others in a joyous photo. “I couldn’t have a better group to win with, because they’re all really good friends.”

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Big Wins in the Bay Area!

    SACRAMENTO—The greater (San Francisco) Bay Area is on a Lottery winning streak! Let’s start with a California Lottery player who purchased a $20 100X the Cash Scratchers® ticket in El Sobrante. It turns out the purchase is worth a cool $5 million prize (less federal taxes)!

      Eric Pounds purchased his lucky ticket at the Hilltop Food Mart, which is located in El Sobrante (Contra Costa County). Hilltop Food Mart will also collect a retailer bonus of $25,000 just for selling the winning ticket. (The retailer bonus is not subtracted from the winner’s prize.)

      There was also a huge win in San Francisco! Muliani Widjaja scored $1 million on a $10 $1,000,000 Bonus Multiplier Scratchers. She purchased her lucky ticket at Hollywood Food Center, located in San Francisco. The retailer in this case is slated to receive a retailer bonus of $5,000.

      “This money gives me extra peace of mind for my retirement,” Widjaja said. She’s also looking to make some home improvements. 

      Both Pounds and Widjaja respectfully decline any potential requests for media interviews. No photo or other information about them can be released.

      The California Lottery’s mission is to provide supplemental funding to California public schools, including kindergarten and grades 1-12, community colleges, the California State University, the University of California, and other California public educational entities.  In fiscal year 2017-18 the Lottery transferred more than $1.7 billion to public education.  This funding translates to an average of about $211 per student for students attending California’s public schools.  During the same period the Lottery generated almost $7 billion in sales, more than 95% of which goes back to the community in the form of prize payments, retailer commissions and bonuses, and contributions to education.  The California Lottery urges its customers to play responsibly.  Problem gambling resources are available to anyone at 1-800-GAMBLER. 

      Players can find and like us on FaceBook. You can also get detailed information on the Internet at: http://www.BingoGamingNews.com and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BingoGamingNews.

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How California is blocking Native Americans from the weed business

    Like most folks, the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel got into the weed business for the money. The 700-member tribe, situated about 45 minutes east of San Diego, California, was roughly $50 million in debt from a failed casino project when the Obama Department of Justice issued the Wilkinson memo in December of 2014, giving Native-American nations the same leeway that had been given to states like Colorado and Washington. Essentially, the feds said, if you keep marijuana regulated; keep it out of the hands of children and criminals; and keep it out of places where it’s still illegal, we’ll leave you alone.

    Impoverished tribes all over the country suddenly had skunky smelling dollar signs in their eyes. Pot entrepreneurs realized that because tribes generally don’t need to pay income taxes, partnering with tribal governments might allow them to get out of paying the whopping federal tax bill necessary for anyone selling a Schedule I drug. Santa Ysabel was approached by over 300 marijuana businesses, and ultimately chose seven to set up cultivation, manufacturing and a testing lab on their land. Investors began predicting that Indian weed was going to be an even bigger business than Indian gaming.

    Three years later, the future of tribal cannabis does not look quite so rosy. The DOJ memo has been rescinded by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The cops have shut down several prominent reservation-based weed businesses, including a planned marijuana resort in South Dakota. And in California, the biggest and most lucrative marijuana market in the world, things aren’t looking great, either. Now that the state has legalized adult-use weed and is licensing pot businesses left and right, it would seem to be the right time for tribal cannabis businesses to be formally recognized by the state – but the government is making it incredibly difficult for tribes to participate in the legal industry.

    Under the current regulations, the governing bodies of cities and counties throughout California can determine who will receive the local marijuana business permits, which are required to obtain a state license. But tribes are not being given this same authority. Instead, tribal cannabis businesses can only acquire the licenses that will allow them to work with state-legal operators if the tribe agrees to cede all licensing power to the state. For most tribal leaders, this stipulation was downright insulting, and constituted yet another example of the government asking tribes to give up some of their hard-won sovereignty.

    “The state [of California] locked the tribes out of the market, and it’s not fair,” says Utu Utu Gwaitu Paiute chairwoman Tina Braithwaite, whose tribe began growing marijuana in the past few years on their land, close to California’s border with Nevada. “We were here first. These are our nations. They put us out in these remote areas and said, ‘Survive!’ and yet when we try to survive, then they want to suppress us.”

    Last fall, as it became clear that California was not going to cooperate with tribes looking to get in on legal weed, Braithwaite teamed up with Santa Ysabel’s cannabis regulatory commissioner, former law enforcement officer Dave Vialpando, to form the California Native American Cannabis Association, or C-NACA. With the support of 19 tribes across the state, C-NACA is now working with legislators to introduce a bill that would give tribes the same authority to determine licensing for local pot operators.

    This will be the third year in a row that this kind of legislation has been introduced in the Golden State.

    Similar bills have passed in recent years in pot-legal states like Nevada, Oregon and Washington, allowing at least 10 tribes to negotiate deals with state governments and open up marijuana businesses. The Squaxin Island tribe opened Indian Country’s first legal pot shop in November of 2015, about 100 miles southwest of Seattle. On a reservation just off of the Las Vegas Strip, the Nuwu Cannabis Marketplace claims to be the largest marijuana store on the planet. But in California, those close to the situation say that C-NACA’s efforts are being stymied by a combination of influential pot businesses wanting to corner the market, and good old-fashioned racism.

    “Tribal cannabis is probably the last big unsettled question in California cannabis policy,” says California Growers Association executive director Hezekiah Allen. “In some of the seedier, single-bottom-line corners of the cannabis community, the theme I’m hearing is, ‘There will be less competition for us if they can’t get licenses.'”

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