Law | National

Some South Dakota tribes said to be interested in legal marijuana






A dispensary in Denver, Colorado. Photo from O'Dea / Wikipedia

Some tribes in South Dakota have expressed interested in legalizing marijuana on their reservations, U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson said.

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law. But a new Department of Justice policy could open the door to tribes that want to legalize the drug.

“If a tribe did decide to go down this road, we would want to make sure they had an effective regulatory scheme in place,” Johnson told The Sioux Falls Argus Leader.

The Oglala Sioux Tribe already allows hemp to be cultivated on the reservation. The plant is closely related to marijuana but has been treated as an illicit substance by drug enforcement agents.

Tribal leaders were considering a referendum to legalize marijuana earlier this year but Ellen Fills The Pipe, the new chair of the tribal council's law and order committee, told the Native Sun News that it wasn't one of her top priorities.

Get the Story:
Some S.D. tribes interested in legalizing pot (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 12/21)
Local tribes show little interest in marijuana (The Duncan Banner 12/21)
Federal marijuana decision won’t affect Tribe (The Mt. Pleasant Morning Sun 12/21)
Tribes tread carefully into discussions about marijuana growth, sales on reservations (AP 12/22)
Native Americans Perplexed by Obama's Latest Marijuana Gift (Bloomberg Politics 12/22)
Wind River Reservation not likely to legalize marijuana (The Casper Star-Tribune 12/22)

Relevant Documents:
Policy Statement Regarding Marijuana Issues in Indian Country (October 2014)

Related Stories:
Editorial: Showing caution for marijuana sales in Indian Country (12/18)
Column: No rush on marijuana sales at Eastern Cherokee casino (12/17)
Opinion: DOJ marijuana policy in Indian Country raises questions (12/16) DOJ announces new policy affecting marijuana in Indian Country (12/11)