Office of Tribal Tobacco Products
The Shinnecock Nation Constitution ARTICLE VII, Section 2(d) granted the Council of Trustees the authority to create the Office of Tribal Tobacco Products (O.T.T.P.). As a government office under the auspices of the Shinnecock Nation Council of Trustees, two serving Trustees are appointed as oversight to advise and ensure that the laws governing the O.T.T.P will be followed and enforced. After the creation of the O.T.T.P., the Director was hired. With the assistance of legal counsel, the Director researched and produced the Shinnecock Nation's Tobacco Ordinance and Tobacco Codes referenda. The two documents defined the purpose of the Office and the laws governing the O.T.T.P.. The Tobacco Ordinance and Codes were voted on by the Shinnecock Nation voting membership. The Tobacco Ordinance was passed on September 13, 2014, and the Tobacco Codes were passed on December 13, 2014.
The Tobacco Ordinance and the Tobacco Codes define the responsibilities of the O.T.T.P., the tobacco retail, wholesale, and distribution businesses that operate within the jurisdiction of the Shinnecock Territory. Both the Tobacco Ordinance and the Tobacco Codes give the Director of the O.T.T.P. the authority to implement and regulate the licensing of the tobaccco retail businesses and the sales and Shinnecock Nation taxing of all tobacco products sold on the Shinnecock Territory. The fees generated by the licensing and the taxes will generate revenue for the Tribal government, community services, and community programs. The O.T.T.P. will also be responsible for implementing and enforcing the regulations stated in the Tobacco Ordinance and Codes to adequately ensure the protection, health, safety, and general welfare of the Shinnecock community.
Unfortunately, the Office of Tribal Tobacco Products has been seriously affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic causing of the closure of Tribal buildings and adherence to CDC guidelines for the protection of staff and members of the community staff days are staggered and often work and contact is from home limiting the collection of necessary documents. My thanks to the Shinnecock Nation Council ofTrustees and tobacco retail business owners and managers for their patience, assistance, and cooperation.