U.S. Gov’t Won’t Stop Native Americans From Growing, Selling Cannabis/Hemp On Tribal Lands [UPDATE]

From Russia Today:

“With a number of states legalizing marijuana for use and production, some tribes have requested guidance on the enforcement of the Controlled Substance Act (CSA) on tribal lands by the United States Attorneys’ offices,” the [October 28, 2014,] memo begins. …

Having the Department of Justice take a stance honoring the sovereignty of Native American tribes when it comes to how they set their own marijuana policy is refreshing,” NORML Communications Director Erik Altieri told Marijuana.com in an email. “The individuals living on these reservations deserve the same freedom to decide how they chose to handle marijuana on their own lands as we are currently providing the fifty states under current Justice Department memos.”

Mason Tvert, a spokesman for the pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project, said that tribal leaders “will have a tremendous opportunity to improve public health and safety, as well as benefit economically” by legalizing marijuana.

Regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol would ensure the product is controlled, and it would bring significant revenue and new jobs to these communities,” he told US News & World Report.

Studies have consistently found above-average rates of alcohol abuse and related problems among Native American communities, so it would be incredibly beneficial to provide adults with a safer recreational alternative,” he added.

From the L.A. Times:

Opening the door for what could be a lucrative and controversial new industry on some Native American reservations, the Justice Department on Thursday will tell U.S. attorneys to not prevent tribes from growing or selling marijuana on the sovereign lands, even in states that ban the practice.

The new guidance, released in a memorandum, will be implemented on a case-by-case basis and tribes must still follow federal guidelines, said Timothy Purdon, the U.S. attorney for North Dakota and the chairman of the Attorney General’s Subcommittee on Native American Issues.

“The tribes have the sovereign right to set the code on their reservations,” Purdon said. …

The policy comes on the heels of the 2013 Justice Department decision to stop most federal marijuana prosecutions in states that have legalized the possession or sale of pot. Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia have all moved to legalize the drug, though the D.C. law may be scaled back by Congress. …

[T]he Justice Department will generally not attempt to enforce federal marijuana laws on federally recognized tribes that choose to allow it, as long as they meet eight federal guidelines, including that marijuana not be sold to minors and not be transported to areas that prohibit it.

 

Just six months before the DoJ memo was issued Oneida Eye’s Publisher, Leah Sue Dodge, wrote on April 27, 2014:

I think we need to better understand the changing economic landscape and accept the fact that cannabis & hemp legalization is happening now, and will happen with more certainty in more places faster than most of us can imagine. Wisconsin was once the number one producer of industrial hemp in America, surpassing even Kentucky which recently re-legalized hemp for use in a variety of products including building materials that can withstand tornadoes, plastics that are being used in many cars today and in the near future will be used with 3D printing technology, as well as a means to restore topsoil to fields ravaged by synthetic chemical-based industrial farming methods.

Gov. Scott Walker recently signed a bill to legalize a cannabinoid-based medicine in Wisconsin, and I think all sides of the political aisles are realizing how badly we’ve long hobbled our economy with prohibition laws rooted in racism rather than realism.

Again

We Toldja!

Get ready, Oneida!

Hemp Liberty or Else!

 

UPDATE (because people asked):
From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

After federal officials said Thursday they would no longer go after American Indian tribes growing marijuana on sovereign lands, state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen responded that he will still enforce state prohibitions on the practice both on and off reservations. …

On Thursday, American Indian leaders in Wisconsin said they had no plans to become marijuana growers.

“I’m not aware of any desires or discussions,” said Bobbi Webster, a spokeswoman for the Oneida tribe. …

Webster said the Oneida highly value their right to manage their own affairs but also value many other things such as the health of their young people.

“I don’t think tribes are different from any other community in that respect,” she said.

 

As for J. B. Van Hollen, we all saw what happened to his stance against marriage liberation in Wisconsin. Whoops!

 

As for Bobbi Webster, luckily nobody in her family has used or uses cannabis, nor ever had or ever will have any diseases that could be treated or eased by cannabis, and fortunately the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin isn’t in a financial crisis and doesn’t need to find ways to diversify its economy beyond its heavy reliance on the sale of commercial tobacco which is so good for the health of young people.

 

Puh-leaze.

 


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