If medical marijuana is outlawed in your state, you might want to try and figure out how close you are to a Native American reservation. Native Americans throughout the United States have started to make plans to be major medical marijuana industry leaders in 2015. The plans for Native American tribes to become major players in the medical marijuana industry took form after a non-enforcement statement was released to public by the Department of Justice in early December, 2014.
Could this bring medical marijuana users closer together than the new dating app for cannabis users? One of the main highlights about Native Americans gaining the right to grow and sell marijuana is that it increases availability for people living in non-medical marijuana states.
The original statement from the Department of Justice calls Native Americans “Indians,” and calls Native American reservations “Indian Country.” In regards to regulating federal laws about medical marijuana in “Indian Country,” the Department of Justice said their first priority for enforcement would be keeping minors from consuming marijuana.
The other seven priorities included preventing revenues from fueling gangs, marijuana transference to states where it is illegal, marijuana from being used as a cover for illegal activities, gun violence during cultivation, promotion of drugged driving, harm to the public and environment due to marijuana production, and (of course) “preventing marijuana possession or use on federal property.”
While the Department of Justice is not saying it will overturn federal laws concerning medical marijuana directly, they do state that they are looking to enforce other medical marijuana-related matters besides shutting down grow houses or disrupting processing and distribution. In other words, if you are a Native American tribe with territory, you can grow as much medical marijuana there as you like.
Arizona Public Media interviewed several Native American leaders about how having the legal right to grow and process medical marijuana in a February interview. They state that the Pinoleville Pomo Nation in California is building a $10 million medical marijuana grow house.
On the other hand, some tribes, like the Navajo and Hopi, feel that introducing legal medical marijuana growing could draw a negative criminal element.
“Somehow it would get corrupted and not be for what it was intended to be. So it is not a good idea for our tribe’s economy, although we desperately need economic growth and opportunity,” Hopi tribe member, Jonnie Jay, said.
However, the Hopi and Navajo may be in the minority. According to The Huffington Post, over 100 (or about one-fifth of) Native American tribes are thinking about opening a medical marijuana facility. In particular, they are reaching out to casino giants, FoxBarry Farms. This is a management firm that is currently seeking to specifically build medical marijuana facilities on tribal lands.
The job creation and revenues for growing medical marijuana on Native American reservations is what is appealing to tribe leaders. For example, the Pinoleville Pomo Nation will use the $10 million to build a 2.5-acre facility that will grow, process, and sell medical marijuana. It will also need to hire between 50 and 100 people (preferably tribe members) to operate the medical marijuana facilities.
Are you curious if medical marijuana is coming to a Native American tribe territory near you? It may be several months before the plants are ready to sell, but a helpful map of all the Native American Reservations published by the National Park Service is a good place to start.
[All images are from the referenced links.]