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Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe still pushing for marijuana resort






Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe President Anthony Reider. Photo from Facebook

The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe saw a setback on Tuesday when a South Dakota legislative committee killed a bill that would have eased state law towards marijuana use.

The tribe planned to open a marijuana resort on the reservation on December 31, 2015, but burned all of its crops amid legal questions. The state was threatening to charge non-Indians who used marijuana and the bill that was killed would have decriminalized the use of the drug in small quantities.

"We'll continue to do what we need to do to take the next steps," council member Kenneth Weston told The Sioux Falls Argus Leader. "We’re going to move forward and we can say we tried."

The state wasn't the only obstacle, though. President Anthony Reider told the Associated Press last November that the tribe feared a raid of the facility by federal authorities, something that has happened on reservations in California and Wisconsin.

The tribal council voted 5 to 1 last 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 even though a Department of Justice policy -- known as the 2014 Wilkinson memo -- seemingly opened the door to legal marijuana in Indian Country. Federal authorities have raided two tribes in California for growing marijuana and a third in Wisconsin for growing hemp, the drug's harmless cousin.

Two tribes in Washington are selling marijuana to consumers but they haven't been affected because state law allows the drug for recreational and medicinal purposes. A third tribe in the state plans to enter the medical marijuana industry.

Get the Story:
Tribe to move forward on marijuana facility after failed bill (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 2/17)
A South Dakota Indian Tribe hoping for changes in the states marijuana law got bad news on Tuesday (Siouxland Matters 2/16)

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

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