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Seneca Nation doesn't foresee taking action on legal marijuana






The flag of the Seneca Nation of New York. Image from Seneca-Iroquois National Museum

Marijuana isn't on the immediate agenda of the Seneca Nation of New York, the tribe's top attorney said.

Medical marijuana was recently legalized for certain purposes in the state. But it could take years before the landscape changes, Martin E. Seneca Jr., the tribe’s chief counsel, said.

“New York has taken a baby step by acting to legalize medical marijuana. I do think that New York may be moving in a direction toward legalizing it for recreational use,” Seneca told The Buffalo News. He said that could be five years away.

Robert Odawi Porter, an attorney and former president of the tribe, is one of the organizers of the Tribal Marijuana Conference, the first of its kind in Indian Country. Leslie Logan, a tribal member, is helping to publicize the February 27 event, which takes place in Washington.

"[A] lot of tribes are very interested in looking into it, and getting ready for what developments might come in the future,” Logan, a public relations specialist, told the paper. “There’s been a lot of buzz about it, no pun intended.”

Seneca said the tribe has been studying the issue but he said he won't be attending the conference.

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

Get the Story:
Seneca lawyer sponsors conference to tap into legal marijuana sales (The Buffalo News 1/29)

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

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