Opinion: Tribes get ready to discuss marijuana in Indian Country

An illegal marijuana farm on public land in California. Photo from Addictiontreatment.org

Writer discusses the first-ever Tribal Marijuana Conference, being held on the Tulalip Reservation this Friday:
The Justice Department announced in December that it would allow Native American tribes to grow and sell marijuana on their sovereign lands, which sounds about right, since THEY WERE HERE FIRST.

Tribal governments are now trying to figure out whether they want to get into the ganja game, and have scheduled a national conference on the matter to be held here in Washington on February 27.

The Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, representing about 50 tribes, passed a resolution last year opposing legalization on their lands (partly due to health and safety concerns for their youth), while Washington’s Suquamish said they were exploring their options for production and sale. The Yakama tribe, with more than 10,000 members, also wants no part of legal weed, and outlawed it on both their own land (1.2 million acres) and the ancestral property (10 million acres) they ceded to the federal government.

So long as they do it in accordance with the federal guidelines set up for states that have legalized marijuana for recreational or medicinal use, any of the 568 recognized Native American tribes can grow or sell the plant. One key sidenote: When you leave the rez in a non-legal state, you damn well better leave the Kalamazoo Kush and Chinook Chronic behind, or you’re liable to be busted, big time.

Get the Story:
Michael A. Stusser: Higher Ground: Driving While Stoned and Native Americans Pow-Wow Over Pot (The Seattle Weekly 2/24)

Relevant Documents:
Department of Justice Policy Statement Regarding Marijuana Issues in Indian Country (October 2014)

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