Opinion: Menominee Nation might turn to tokers instead of poker

Members of the Menominee Nation and their supporters marched to the Wisconsin State Capitol. Photo from Facebook

With an off-reservation casino off the table for now, the Menominee Nation might turn to the marijuana industry to improve its way of life:
If you have reservations about marijuana, then a reservation teeming with marijuana might not strike you as a good idea.

But the Menominee tribe is talking about just saying yes to growing weed on the reservation near Shawano as a moneymaker after its proposed casino in Kenosha was rejected by Gov. Scott Walker.

The Menominee are saying, in effect, if we can't have craps, then we'll go with crops. If we don't get a single slot machine, we'll crank up a pot machine. No poker, then send us your tokers. Roulette? Now we say roll it. And the chips stacked in front of you will be Doritos.

Lawyers would have to work out a lot of gray area in the law before that part of the state would become a green area of tall plants swaying in the breeze.

Like, for instance, would it be legal? Federal and tribal police, and not state authorities, investigate and prosecute most crimes on the Menominee reservation. But the U.S. Justice Department last year told federal prosecutors not to prevent tribes from growing or selling marijuana on their reservations.

Yet it's unclear if the drug could ever leave the reservation, especially to go elsewhere in Wisconsin where it remains fully illegal, or if nonmembers of the tribe could come to the reservation to smoke up.

Still, you can imagine Menominee County becoming a tourist destination, much like Colorado now that it has become one of four states, plus Washington, D.C., to legalize pot for recreational use. It's getting crazy in America now that you can either smoke with impunity or go to prison, depending which side of a state line you're on.

Get the Story:
Jim Stingl: Tribe's pot-growing option would cater to tokers, not poker (The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 2/27)

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

Related Stories
Menominee Nation leader wants to move quickly on marijuana (2/20)
Menominee Nation weighs next step for off-reservation casino (2/20)

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