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American Indian Cannabis Grow-Plan hits Snag that could Affect other Tribes' Attempts

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  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    [IMGL=white]https://drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=51605&stc=1&d=1470787797[/IMGL]All eyes in the marijuana industry are on South Dakota following the news last week that the state's top prosecutor would bring felony charges against a pair of consultants who helped a Native American tribe grow marijuana.

    While federal raids have taken place across the country as tribes enter into marijuana and hemp growing operations, industry officials think South Dakota is the first state to bring charges against a pair of marijuana consultants who helped the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe cultivate its crop. The charges also mark the first time an attorney general has targeted how marijuana seeds arrived at a location where they were grown, an issue largely ignored in states that have legalized the drug.

    Chris Lindsey, a Montana-based lawyer and legal analyst with the Marijuana Policy Project, said the legal action from a state's attorney general rather than a U.S. attorney also constitutes a "game changer." Lindsey said this is the first instance he has seen of consultants facing charges in connection with their efforts to assist the tribe.

    "This is a troubling development," Lindsey said. "This is something we'll be watching."

    Similar marijuana and hemp growing operations among California and Wisconsin tribes have been subject to federal raids, but charges never emerged. The Flandreau tribe razed its crop of more than 600 plants in November, citing a similar probe.

    The cases against Monarch America heads Eric Hagen and Jonathan Hunt could have national implications, Robert Hunt, a Denver-based attorney and cannabis consultant, said, as other states could view them as precedent-setting.

    “I’ve never seen charges brought forth on the immaculate conception issue … this is a brand new question and one that the cannabis industry is watching,” Hunt said.

    The issue at hand is getting the first seed to the place where it will be planted and grown. In states like South Dakota where marijuana is illegal, the state has discretion to press charges for transporting or ordering those seeds, even if the feds won't. And while states like Colorado, Washington and California have turned a blind eye to how the first seeds arrive there after legalization, South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley has taken a stance that the "immaculate conception" approach isn't going to fly in this state.


    By Dana Ferguson - USA Today/Aug. 9, 2016
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/...ustry-watches-game-changer-sd-cases/88473228/
    Photo: Joe Ahlquist, argus
    Newshawk Crew

    About Author

    Beenthere2Hippie
    BT2H is a retired news editor and writer from the NYC area who, for health reasons, retired to a southern US state early, and where BT2H continues to write and to post drug-related news to DF.

Comments

  1. AKA_freckles
    Re: American Indian Cannabis Grow-Plan hits Snag that could Affect other Tribes' Atte

    Assholes.


    I can't think of anything else to add.
  2. Beenthere2Hippie
    Re: American Indian Cannabis Grow-Plan hits Snag that could Affect other Tribes' Atte

    Assholes covers it. Now if there was something we could do to equal out the playing field for American Indians I've feel much better, but, sadly, I don't see it happening anytime soon,
  3. AKA_freckles
    Re: American Indian Cannabis Grow-Plan hits Snag that could Affect other Tribes' Atte

    Right? If anyone should be able to grow weed, it's the NA tribes. I do wonder why they are prosecuting the consultants and not the tribe leaders who put this in motion.
  4. Beenthere2Hippie
    Re: American Indian Cannabis Grow-Plan hits Snag that could Affect other Tribes' Atte

    I'm guessing for two reasons. First, picking on American Indians these days makes the Federal Government look exactly like the dicks they happen to be, so they'll avoid it if they can. Second, because the guys they've indicted have money, which the Indians don't, and so the Feds are more likely to make an example of those hired consultants that will stick, since few people are going to come to their rescue, or even know or care who they are.

    That would be my guess.
  5. Beenthere2Hippie
    Marijuana Possession Charge of Tribes' Cannabis Consultant Unfounded, Lawyer Says

    [IMGR=white]https://drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=51743&stc=1&d=1471286935[/IMGR]FLANDREAU, S.D.-- The Latest on two consultants charged in a failed plan to open the nation's first marijuana resort (all times local):

    12:40 p.m.

    The attorney for a consultant facing drug charges in connection with a Native American tribe's failed effort to open the nation's first marijuana resort says the drug for the operation never belonged to this client.

    Attorney Mike Butler is defending Eric Hagen, the CEO of the Colorado-based consulting firm Monarch America. Butler says he is unaware of any evidence showing that his client possessed "even a gram of marijuana."

    South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley filed three charges against Hagen on Aug. 3. Hagen pleaded not guilty Monday to conspiracy to possess, possession and attempt to possess more than 10 pounds of marijuana.

    Butler says Jackley is proceeding under a "legal fiction" against Hagen.

    Another consultant in the resort plan, Jonathan Hunt, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy count Monday.

    ---

    9:55 a.m.

    A consultant from Colorado has pleaded not guilty to possession and other drug charges related to a failed attempt to establish the nation's first marijuana resort at a Native American reservation.

    Eric Hagen was charged Aug. 3 with conspiracy to possess, possession and attempt to possess more than 10 pounds of marijuana.

    Hagen entered a not-guilty plea Monday in Flandreau, South Dakota.

    The state's top prosecutor filed the charges against Hagen, the CEO of the Colorado-based consulting firm Monarch America, months after tribal leaders destroyed the marijuana crop over fears of a federal raid.

    Another consultant in the resort plan, Jonathan Hunt, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy count Monday.

    ---

    9:45 a.m.

    One of two consultants who worked with a Native American tribe on its plans to open the nation's first marijuana resort has pleaded guilty to a drug offense in South Dakota.

    Jonathan Hunt is the cultivation expert who oversaw the first marijuana crop of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe. He entered his plea to a drug conspiracy count for his role in the planned resort on Monday in Flandreau.

    The state's top prosecutor filed drug-related charges Aug. 3 against Hunt and Eric Hagen, CEO of the Colorado-based consulting firm Monarch America, months after tribal leaders destroyed the marijuana crop over fears of a federal raid.

    Court documents show the 43-year-old Hunt, of Denver, ordered marijuana seeds from a Dutch company that were shipped surreptitiously to the tribe's office in 2015.


    AP/Aug. 15, 2016
    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/storie...ME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2016-08-15-13-58-09
    Photo: Emily Spartz Weerheim, argus le
    Newshawk Crew
  6. Beenthere2Hippie
    Tribal Cannabis Consults Enter Opposing Pleas to Marijuana Possession Charges

    [IMGL=white]https://drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=51748&stc=1&d=1471294253[/IMGL]FLANDREAU, S.D.-- Two consultants who helped a Native American tribe plan the nation's first marijuana resort entered opposing pleas Monday to drug offenses, with the attorney for the man who pleaded not guilty arguing outside of court that South Dakota's top prosecutor is proceeding under a "legal fiction."

    Jonathan Hunt, who oversaw the first crop for the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, pleaded guilty to a drug conspiracy count in the city of Flandreau, which is adjacent to the tribe's reservation where the ambitious "adult playground" never took off. Eric Hagen, the CEO of the Colorado-based consulting firm Monarch America, pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to possess, possession and attempt to possess more than 10 pounds of marijuana.

    The charges were filed Aug. 3, eight months after tribal leaders destroyed the marijuana crop, fearing a federal raid, and walking away from the headline-grabbing scheme that they estimated would have yielded up to $2 million in monthly profits.

    Hagen's attorney, Mike Butler, spoke publicly for the first time Monday, blasting Attorney General Marty Jackley for charging his client because he "couldn't go after the tribe."

    "I am yet unaware of any evidence, any evidence, that my client possessed even a gram of marijuana," Butler said outside the courtroom. "...The marijuana belonged to the Santee Sioux Tribe. They paid for it. They had legal ownership of it at all times. Mr. Hagen never had possession, actual or constructed, of the marijuana alleged in this case."

    Butler said he will call tribal officials to testify in court.

    Hunt and his attorney declined to comment to The Associated Press on Monday. Hunt is to be sentenced Dec. 19, though the date could change depending on Hagen's case. The prosecution recommended probation.

    Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe president Anthony Reider and the tribe's attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment. No tribal officials are charged.

    Court documents say Hunt ordered 55 different strains of marijuana seeds from a company in the Netherlands that were put in CD cases and sewn into shirts and shipped to the tribe's office in August 2015. Authorities say Hunt and others planted about 30 strains in September and October at the greenhouse on the reservation.

    The Santee Sioux began to explore growing marijuana after the Justice Department outlined a new policy in 2014 clearing the way for Indian tribes to grow and sell marijuana under the same conditions as some states that have legalized pot. When tribal leaders initially touted their plan to open the resort, Reider said they wanted it to be "an adult playground."

    The ambitious plans included a smoking lounge with a nightclub, bar and food service and, eventually, an outdoor music venue. Tribal officials planned to use the money for community services and to provide income to tribal members.

    But weeks after the growing operation took off, the crop was burned in batches - about 600 plants in all - after federal officials signaled a potential raid.

    Jackley warned against the idea from the outset, saying changes in tribal law to permit the operation wouldn't protect non-tribal members. Hunt is not a member of any recognized tribe in the U.S.


    By Regina Garcia Cano - AP/Aug. 15, 2016
    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/storie...A_COOL-?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT
    Photo: Jay ay Pickthorn, ap
    Newshawk Crew
  7. Alfa
    Re: American Indian Cannabis Grow-Plan hits Snag that could Affect other Tribes' Atte

    First seeds? In other words: before legalization no marijuana existed?
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