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Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe feared raid of marijuana resort






Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe President Anthony Reider. Photo from Facebook

A potential raid by the federal government prompted the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe of South Dakota to pull back on its marijuana resort, the Associated Press reported.

The tribe became worried after a meeting in Washington, D.C. President Anthony Reider told the AP that Deparment of Justice officials raised two major issues -- the sale of marijuana to non-Indians and the source of the tribe's marijuana seeds.

As a result, the tribe burned its supply over the weekend. The marijuana resort -- which was due to open on December 31 -- is now on hold while talks continue at the federal and state level.

“We just felt it would be best to go in with a clean slate to look for answers on how to proceed so that all sides are comfortable with it," Reider told the AP.

The tribal council voted 5 to 1 in June to legalize marijuana on the reservation. The council also adopted comprehensive set of laws and policies to address the sale and use of the drug

Marijuana, however, remains illegal under federal law. A Department of Justice policy -- known as the 2014 Wilkinson memo -- seemingly opened the door to legal marijuana in Indian Country but so far no tribe has been able to grow marijuana -- or even its harmless cousin hemp -- without being raided by state or federal authorities.

“The Department of Justice is never going to give a tribe or a merchant in a state where it’s legalized a letter saying you have permission to do this,” Tim Purdon, a former U.S. Attorney for North Dakota, told the AP. “Cannabis remains illegal under federal law. And looking for some sort of advisory opinion from the department saying that what you’re doing is OK is never going to happen.”

Get the Story:
South Dakota tribe burned pot crop for fear of federal raid (AP 11/9)
Tribe's recreational, medicinal marijuana operation suspended (Forum News Service 11/9)
SD Lawmakers React After Tribe Suspends Marijuana Operation (KDLT 11/9)
Flandreau Santee Sioux Members Share Mixed Emotions About Burning Plants (KELO 11/9)
Up In Smoke (The Moody County Enterprise 11/9)
Pot Protest held Saturday morning (The Moody County Enterprise 11/9)

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

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