Jay Daniels: KIDS Act punishes tribes for exercising sovereignty


A cannabis plant. Photo from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via Wikipedia

Jay Daniels of Round House Talk questions the rationale behind S.1984, the Keeping out Illegal Drugs Act, a bill that bars tribes that legalize marijuana from receiving federal funds despite the existence of treaties, contracts and other agreements:
The most recent "Asset Forfeiture" relating to illegal drug activity amounted to more than $1,786,567,692 in the 2010 Report on Asset Forfeiture. By contrast, the federal government spent approximately $15 billion on the war on drugs campaign. This amount includes enforcement, treatment, prevention, interdiction, etc. A losing cause when compared to other also necessary programs. Tribes would probably appreciate the federal government expending 60% more than is available or cost effective on tribal entitlements.

The federal government understands what a cash cow is and don't want tribes to grow in economic stability. Estimates are that tribal legalization of marijuana could be a a greater revenue source than gaming. Trust or false? Who knows. The Department of Justice's Cole Memorandum provides the impetus for tribes to wet their feet in the tribal legalization of marijuana use. The Cole Memorandum still does not tighten the hatches on who will or could be prosecuted for use and distribution of marijuana. But the memorandum clearly delineates the distinction of state laws where marijuana use and distribution for medicinal or recreational use is allowed.

Could be a two-faced trick. Tribes are trying to ascertain the rationale the raid of a marijuana operation operated by Pit River Tribe’s XL Ranch and the Alturas Indian Rancheria in northeastern California. But it’s also a story of two tribes’ conflicted internal politics when it comes to grow operations on tribal land, and of the perilous path faced by tribes looking to legalize pot.

Tribal Marijuana - "Good or Bad?" Who really knows? The state of Colorado seems to think it's good. What do I think? Indians will ultimately do what they feel is right and best for their people. Also, I believe that any type of infringement on tribal sovereignty is an assault on Indian Country that began from the moment that the pilgrims landed on the soils of this continent and continues today.

Get the Story:
Jay Daniels: First term U.S. Senators want to punish tribes by terminating entitlements (Round House Talk 8/17)

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

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