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  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    GRANTS PASS- The U.S. Justice Department said Thursday Indian tribes can grow and sell marijuana on their lands as long as they follow the same federal conditions laid out for states that have legalized the drug.

    Oregon U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall said Thursday the announcement addresses questions raised by tribes about how legalization of pot in states like Oregon, Washington and Colorado would apply to Indian lands.

    Only three tribes have expressed interest in growing and selling marijuana, said Marshall, who co-chaired a group that developed the policy. One is in California, one in Washington state and one in the Midwest. She did not name them.

    "That's been the primary message tribes are getting to us as U.S. attorneys," Marshall said from Portland. "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 County when states are no longer there to partner with us?"

    Marshall warned the announcement is not a green light to tribal authorities — and that marijuana is still illegal under federal law. The U.S. government's prosecution priorities involve pot-related gang activity, violence, sales to kids and trafficking continue, she said.

    Problems could arise for tribes with lands in states that still outlaw marijuana, due to the likelihood that marijuana could be transported or sold outside tribal boundaries, she added.

    Seattle attorney Anthony Broadman, whose firm represents tribal governments throughout the West, said the announcement represents a "potential for an enormous economic development tool here.

    "If tribes can balance all the potential social issues, it could be a really huge opportunity," Broadman said.

    But those social issues are monumental.

    "Indian tribes have been decimated by drug use," Broadman said. "Tribal regulations of pot are going to have to dovetail with tribal values, making sure marijuana isn't a scourge like alcohol or tobacco."

    Tribes selling marijuana may not be subject to state and local taxes, allowing them to undercut off-reservation sales. In Washington, taxes add 25 percent to the price of pot. But Alison Holcomb, a primary drafter of Washington state's legalization measure, said most people in larger states won't want to drive to far-flung reservations to buy pot.

    "The reality is that so much of the market depends on convenience, it's not just price that drives consumer choices," Holcomb said.

    The Yakama Nation in Washington state recently passed a ban on marijuana on the reservation and is trying to halt state regulated pot sales and grows on lands off the reservation where it still holds hunting and fishing rights. The Hoopa Valley Tribe in Northern California has battled illegal pot plantations on its reservation, where they cause environmental damage.

    Marshall said with 566 tribes around the country recognized by the federal government, there will be a lot of consulting going on between tribes and federal prosecutors. As sovereign nations, some tribes have their own police, some rely on federal law enforcement, and some call in state and local police.

    With limited resources and vast amounts of territory to cover, federal prosecutors will not prosecute minor cases, Marshall said.

    The tribal policy is based on the so-called "Cole Memo" of August 2013, named after the deputy attorney general who wrote it, in which the Justice Department said the federal government wouldn't intervene as long as legalization states tightly regulate the drug and take steps to keep it from children, criminal cartels and federal property.

    In all, the memo said, U.S. attorneys reserve the right to prosecute for eight issues: Sales to kids, marijuana proceeds going to criminal enterprises, shipping marijuana to states where it is illegal, illegal sales, firearms and violence, drugged driving and other public health issues, growing marijuana on public lands and possession of marijuana on federal property.

    The Huffington Post/Dec. 11, 2014
    Photo: onkwehonwerising.wordpress.com
    Newshawk Crew

    Author Bio

    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.


  1. SmokeTwibz
    Native American reservations now free to legalize marijuana

    For decades, Native American reservations have been havens for the gambling industry in states with anti-casino legislatures. Can we count Big Pot in too?

    The Justice Department said Thursday it will no longer prosecute federal laws regulating the growing or selling of marijuana on reservations, even when state law bans the drug.

    Timothy Purdon, the U.S. attorney for North Dakota and the chairman of the attorney general’s subcommittee on Native American issues, explained to the Los Angeles Times that federal prosecutors will not enforce federal pot laws as long as reservations meet the same guidelines as states that have opted for legalization. He also said the federal government will continue to support any marijuana bans passed by tribal councils, even when the state allows recreational use.

    In other words: The government will let tribal governments decide what to do about pot.

    The policy was not a result of any particular demand for legalization on reservations. On the contrary: Oregon U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall told the Associated Press the guidelines are a response to an inquiry from tribal governments wanting to know whether the Department of Justice would back tribal pot bans in states where recreational use is legal — currently Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Alaska.

    The United States has 326 federally-recognized reservations, most in states that ban recreational marijuana. But whether reservations will become free zones for the drug depends on the decisions of tribal governments, many of which have struggled against drug and alcohol addiction within their borders.

    The Hoopa Valley Tribe in California, for example, has enlisted the help of state police in ridding its ancestral lands of illegal pot grows for years. And the Yakama Nation of Washington, whose tribal lands cover 1.2 million acres, has actively fought statewide legalization, seeking to ban marijuana in all 10 counties of its ancestral lands — about a fifth of the state. As in California, tribal police have spent years chasing growers off of their reservation.

    Marshall said only three such tribes — one in California, one in Washington state and one in the Midwest — have said they’re interested in legalization. She would not disclose which ones.

    When asked about any plans to legalize, the Mohegan Tribal Council of Connecticut told the Hartford Courant it is “looking at numerous opportunities to diversify into new emerging markets.”

    Tribes must follow the same guidelines laid out for states that have already opted for legalization, according to the Justice Department. Feds say they will step in when pot is sold or given to minors, and when marijuana revenues are benefiting criminal drug cartels or other trafficking activities. Carting marijuana from a legal state to an illegal state is still not allowed.

    Up next is how they will be taxed: As states like Colorado see an economic windfall from the newly legal industry along with soaring tax revenues, will reservations try to undercut them, becoming intra-state tax havens for the marijuana industry?

    December 12, 2014
    Aaron Gregg | The Daily Chronic
  2. Alfa
    Re: Native American reservations now free to legalize marijuana

    Wow. It seems to me that this will enable Native American tribes located in states where marijuana is not (fully) legalized to set up a multi-million production and trade. If they play their cards right they could rake in hundreds of millions.

    This would be a serious problem for any states who intent to keep recreational marijuana illegal, because part of those states will likely have legal production and trade going on. If the Native American tribes take advantage of this opportunity then this is likely to be the turning point.
  3. chaos69
    Re: Native American reservations now free to legalize marijuana

    Wait, isn't that what legalising it stops? If they don't want cartels profiting from weed trade then why keep it illegal? Silly feds.
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