LEWISTON, NY (WKBW) – The fight over illegal cannabis sales in the Tuscarora Nation could lead to road closures.
The Tuscarora Indian Reservation is located in Niagara County that crisscrosses many travel routes such as the Saunders-Settlement.
Law enforcement met with the nation’s leaders in an effort to prevent a possible blockage.
President Frank Privet, Lewiston Police Department, declared that “cannabis sales to the nation are, at this point, illegal.”
Lewiston Privet Police Chief says the Tuscarora Nation Council does not approve the sale of marijuana or marijuana products on hold.
“A nation can claim sovereignty — Seneca allowed this kind of thing, but the Tuscarora wasn’t elected as a nation either, so that would come down to New York state law, as there is no legal sale of marijuana at this point in New York State,” Privet explained.
In an effort to stop sales occurring at illegal dispensaries, the nation threatens to erect barriers at its borders to prevent non-residents from entering and purchasing them.
Lewiston Police, the Niagara County District Attorney and the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office have all met with House leaders in hopes of preventing any roadblocks.
Our case is that we need to keep roads open for the sake of public safety. If there’s an emergency on the nation’s property or if we can get there through a reservation on the other side — that’s our problem,” said Vice President Aaron Schultz, Niagara County Sheriff’s Office. Public Safety.”
Rep. Schultz says the nation does not have its own police or fire departments and relies on law enforcement in the region for emergencies.
“If they block the road and they’re only inside the gate, and I’m Route 31 – how am I going to get to you? Shultz described seconds as important when it comes to these kinds of problems, not minutes – they’re seconds.”
“And our message to the nation will be to give us the opportunity to deal with this,” President Privet said. “They haven’t indicated that it will be on any major road, so we don’t know what their intentions are as such.”
I stopped at a few shops along the reservation roads, but no one was willing to talk about this problem, because sales are considered illegal.
I’ve also reached out to the Tuscarora Board for a response, but haven’t heard back from anyone yet. We visited their offices, but no one was there.