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Native Americans Mixed on Ability to Grow and Sell Marijuana Legally
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Summary: Native American tribes across the country are divided over whether or not they will legally grow and sell marijuana as permitted by the DOJ. 

New rules from the United States Department of Justice allow Native Americans to grow and sell marijuana on their lands, free of any taxes, according to Vice News.


There are 566 tribes recognized by the federal government, and they all seem to have mixed sentiments about the new rules.

The sale of marijuana is still illegal under federal law, but the memorandum from the Department of Justice said that Native Americans will not be prosecuted for growing and selling the drug on their sovereign lands so long as they follow the federal guidelines issued in Washington, Colorado and Oregon.

To read more stories about legal marijuana, click here.

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Anthony Broadman is a lawyer with Galanda Broadman in Seattle. He told Vice News the following in an interview:

“People who I’ve spoken to are excited about this, but along with that excitement there is a lot of caution that stems from tribal history with alcohol and substance abuse. The biggest issue is if tribes are going to want to use a drug as a way to make money. The history of Indian tribes and substance is not a pretty one.”

Yakama Nation, in Washington, will likely keep its hard stance against drugs. The council of the Yakama Nation banned marijuana on all of its 1.2 million acres of reservation after Washington legalized the drug back in 2012. Earlier this year, the tribe extended the marijuana ban to an additional 12 million acres of ceded ancestral land.

The Hoopa Valley Tribe of California has even worked with law enforcement to end illegal marijuana growing on its reservation. In South Dakota, the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council has spoken out against proposals to grow marijuana on tribal land.

To read more stories about Native American tribes, click here.

“In northern and central California there are tribes dealing with illegal growth that has horrible effects on water from fertilizer run-off,” Broadman said. “The cartels will also do things like drop off five guys and leave them there over the summer to grow, and the waste from that also has an impact.”

Amanda Marshall, the Oregon U.S. Attorney, helped in the drafting the policy. Marshall told the Associated Press the following:

“That’s been the primary message tribes are getting to us as U.S. attorneys,” Marshall said. “What will the U.S. as federal partners do to assist tribes in protecting our children and families, our tribal businesses, our tribal housing? How will you help us combat marijuana abuse in Indian Country when states are no longer there to partner with us?”

She said that only three tribes have shown interest in growing marijuana. The tribes are located in California, Washington and the Midwest.

To read more about the legalization of marijuana in Washington, click here.

Because marijuana grown and sold on tribal lands is not subject to state or federal tax, it means buyers could save money because taxes raise the price by at least 25 percent in Washington.

How many of the 566 federally recognized tribes will legally grow and sell marijuana? Use our poll to share your thoughts.

How many tribes will legally grow and sell marijuana?

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Image credit: Huffington Post.


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