The Tricky Relationship Between Marijuana and American Indians
It’s time to reconsider the regulation of marijuana and hemp on reservations. One year ago in October, the Department of Justice released a memorandum stating that federal authorities would no longer prosecute for marijuana on tribal land—even when it is illegal in the surrounding state. In that memo Justice Department Director Monty Wilkinson wrote that “in the event that sovereign Indian Nations seek to legalize the cultivation or use of marijuana in Indian Country,” United States Attorneys will essentially treat its legalization in the same way that the department does in states like Colorado and Washington, where the drug is legal, as long as reservations meet the same guidelines.
Over the last 12 months, tribes from California to New York have legalized the drug.