Shinnecock Nation considers entering medical marijuana field

Supporters of medical marijuana rallied at the New York State Capitol in 2014. Photo from Compassionate Care NY / Facebook

The Shinnecock Nation of New York might enter the medical marijuana field.

The Compassionate Care Act became law in the state last year. It authorizes the use of medical marijuana to treat patients with "serious" conditions who are under the care of a certified health provider.

"Since the Compassionate Care Act became law last year, our tribal leaders—like many others—have sought counsel from the U.S. Department of Justice and the State of New York on what this means for a sovereign nation like ours," Bryan Polite, the chairman of the tribe's board of trustees, said in a statement quoted by the local media. "We are continuing to gather information as part of that exploratory process. No decisions have been made, nor will they be, without the input and approval of the Shinnecock Indian Nation membership."

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law although the Department of Justice seemingly opened the door to the drug in Indian Country with the 2014 Wilkinson memo. The policy, however, has not stopped federal or state raids on tribal marijuana operations.

Get the Story:
Tribe Explores Idea Of Producing Medical Marijuana (The Southampton Press 11/24)
Shinnecocks explore starting medical marijuana program (Newsday 11/24)

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

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