In a memorandum released Thursday, the Justice Department announced it will instruct all U.S. attorneys to NOT prevent Native American tribes from cultivating or selling marijuana on reservation lands in spite of any state laws that may be in place. The law of the land will be left up to each individual tribe, with federal law enforcement officials available to continue prosecuting “marijuana crimes” if the tribes so wish. By all that is right this shouldn’t have even been a question considering the reservations are sovereign lands.
“Finally, Native Americans are really beginning to experience true sovereignty,” says Dan Skye, editor-in-chief of HIGH TIMES. “Cannabis — whether it’s industrial hemp, medical or recreational marijuana — can provide employment and economic stimulus on Indian reservations which is so desperately needed.”
It remains to be seen how many tribes will take advantage of the policy, but many seem to be mulling it as another potential source of income to accompany the likes of cigarette sales and gambling. Some federal regulations will continue to apply: Marijuana still cannot be sold to minors or made available to drug cartels, grown on public lands, or spread across state lines.
Below is a map of all of the federally recognized tribal lands in America that could partake if they choose to (courtesy of US News & World Report):
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