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Native Americans

  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director December 12, 2014

    In a completely unexpected move by the Obama Administration, the US Department of Justice released a memo on October 28 indicating to Native American tribes that they can engage in cannabis commerce–cultivation, processing and retail sales–as long as they comport with the existing eight rules put forward in a previous August 2013 Obama Administration memo allowing states the autonomy to develop cannabis-based businesses in states where voters have passed binding ballot initiatives or elected policymakers have passed reform legislation.

    • Distribution of marijuana to minors
    • Revenue from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal enterprises, gangs and cartels
    • Diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal to states where it remains illegal
    • State-authorized marijuana activity being used as a cover for trafficking other illegal drugs or activity
    • Violence or the use of firearms as part of cultivation and distribution of marijuana
    • Drugged driving or the exacerbation of other negative health consequences associated with marijuana use
    • Growing marijuana on public lands
    • Marijuana possession or use on federal property

    It's NORML to smoke pot

    US News writes that “there are 326 federally recognized American Indian reservations, according to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Many reservations are in states that don’t allow marijuana for medical or recreational use, such as Oklahoma, Utah and the Dakotas. Others are located near major East Coast cities and far from legal pot stores in the West.

    “The tribes have the sovereign right to set the code on their reservations,” U.S. attorney for North Dakota Timothy Purdon, chairman of the Attorney General’s Subcommittee on Native American Issues, told the Times.

    In a statement, the Department of Justice said U.S. attorneys will review tribal marijuana policies on a case-by-case basis and that prosecutors retain the right to enforce federal law.

    “Each U.S. attorney will assess the threats and circumstances in his or her district, and consult closely with tribal partners and the Justice Department when significant issues or enforcement decisions arise in this area,” the statement says. 

    Read the DOJ memo allowing Native American tribes to regulate cannabis-related businesses here.

    A detailed map of Native American tribes is found here.

  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director April 10, 2008

    hempfield.JPG

    In mid-March the Reason Foundation published a report entitled ‘Illegally Green: Environmental Costs of Hemp Prohibition’. The report updates the precarious hemp industry in the United States and its continued struggles under absurdly strict federal laws that are meant to control the psychoactive strain of the plant, usually described as ‘marijuana’.

    Hemp is legal for farmers to grow in virtually all countries where marijuana is still illegal (i.e, Canada, France, Great Britain, Switzerland, China, Romania, etc…), and to help highlight the non-sensible government policy Native Americans on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota will soon build a home constructed of hemp in conjunction with the 2008 Hemp Hoe Down.

    “There are numerous environmental advantages to hemp,” said Skaidra Smith-Heisters, a policy analyst at Reason Foundation and author of the report. “Hemp often requires less energy to manufacture into products. It is less toxic to process. And it is easier to recycle and more biodegradable than most competing crops and products. Unfortunately, we won’t realize the full economic and environmental benefits of hemp until the crop is legal in the United States.”