Native Americans may soon have a new cash crop on their hands with the release of the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Policy Statement Regarding Marijuana Issues in Indian Country, also known as the 2014 Tribal Marijuana Memo. So in case you were planning a trip to one of the four U.S. states where recreational weed is legal, listen up: your drive might have just become a hell of a lot shorter.
Though marijuana possession is a federal crime, the DOJ allowed states to regulate marijuana sales in August 2013. The new policies set forth in that month’s Cole Memorandum have carried forward into the 2014 Tribal Marijuana Memo, which allows Native American tribes to grow and sell marijuana on their land as long as they maintain robust, effective regulatory systems. Essentially, as long as reservations follow the same rules as states do regarding marijuana sales (no sales to minors, no funding cartels, no shipping product to states where weed is illegal, etc.) the reservations are treated the same as a state where weed is legal.
While it is unclear just how many tribes will embrace the opportunity to grow and sell weed, what is interesting is that this new policy opens the door to little pockets of legalization all over the country – even in states where the plant is illegal. And with 326 federally-recognized American Indian reservations in the United States, it might not be long until a legal weed shop opens somewhere near you.
Imagine that – instead of driving all the way to one of those western states for legal green, you just saunter on down to the local reservation, stop by the dispensary for a few grams, then post up in front of the slot machine at the nearby casino. With these new laws, soon anyone will be able to feel like a high roller.
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