The Negotiator: Cassandra Dittus
This story was originally published in the October 2017 issue of Marijuana Venture, on sale now online at a store near you.
Co-founder and President | Tribal Cannabis Consulting | Reno, Nevada
After undergoing what would be her final bone marrow transplant, Cassandra Dittus found herself in remission, but without the skills needed for a career.
“I had been sick through most of the time when people would normally go to college, so I was in little bit of a strange spot for my age,” the cancer survivor explains.
So when she met a local business owner who was opening a medical dispensary, she called him every day until he hired her. That was nine years ago.
Since then, Dittus has built a wealth of knowledge and now uses that experience to help Native American tribes receive equal access to the cannabis industry.
“I was fortunate enough to be given an opportunity in this industry,” she says. “So, this is something that the tribes deserve to have too. It’s something that I believe in.”
Dittus was involved in the passage of Nevada Senate Bill 375, which establishes the relationship between Native American tribes, the state government and recreational cannabis. Through state compacts, the law allows tribes to work inside a similar regulatory framework as Nevada’s licensed cannabis businesses.
The compacts give tribes the ability to license producers, retailers and processors to work in both the medical and recreational cannabis markets, and allow them to collect taxes from the businesses that fund their government and its services.
“They receive money from the federal government, but it’s nothing compared to what they can actually subsidize their communities with,” Dittus says. “This is something that can support a lot of people, but they just have to be able to do it right.”
The Ely Shoshone and Yerington Paiute are the first tribes Dittus helped to achieve reciprocity in Nevada. Now that the compacts have been signed, her company can assist with the more traditional aspects of consulting, such as training, staffing, building standard operating procedures and designing facilities, as well as helping to make connections between Nevada licensees and tribal businesses.
“It was a wonderful thing for the tribes to get up and rolling with those,” Dittus says of the recent compacts in Nevada. “The tribes need to be able to access the industry, especially when they are encompassed by a state with full-fledged medical or recreational marijuana.”