But Indian Country expressed alarms earlier this year, when the Trump administration rescinded the Obama-era guidance on marijuana. According to Suquamish, the decision was made without consulting tribes on a government-to-government basis. Republicans and Democrats in the Senate and in the House think that was a wrong move. "It’s time to reform American’s outdated marijuana policies," said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts). The STATES Act, she added, would "let states, territories and tribes decide for themselves how best to regulate marijuana – without federal interference." Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado), a co-sponsor of the bill, said the Trump administration should respect the will of voters in places like Colorado, where marijuana was legalized in 2012. But he noted that the Centennial State isn't alone when it comes to cannabis. "The federal government is closing its eyes and plugging its ears while 46 states have acted," Gardner said. Rep. David Joyce (R-Ohio) introduced the House version of the bill, which is co-sponsored by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon). "For too long the senseless prohibition of marijuana has devastated communities, disproportionately impacting poor Americans and communities of color," said Blumenauer. The Warm Springs Tribes recently got into the cannabis business, growing the plant on their reservation in Oregon in hopes of improving economic opportunities there.
It’s time to reform American’s outdated marijuana policies. Watch live as @SenCoryGarder and I discuss our new legislation that would let states, territories, & tribes decide for themselves how best to regulate marijuana – without federal interference. https://t.co/BVcvxomhld— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) June 7, 2018
The STATES Act doesn't just address marijuana. It removes federal restrictions on industrial hemp, ones that have kept tribes like the Menominee Nation and people like Alex White Plume, a citizen of the Oglala Sioux Tribe from using their lands to grow a plant that does not carry the same drug characteristics as cannabis. After a decade-long fight, White Plume secured a major victory two years ago when a federal judge lifted an injunction against his hemp farm on the Pine Ridge Reservationin South Dakota. The decision cited the shifts in federal policy during the Obama administration, as well as the enactment of the 2014 Farm Bill, which includes provisions regarding hemp development in states where it has been legalized. The Department of Justice did not appeal the decision His family has since started regrowing hemp despite the change in power in Washington. The federal government's role in enforcing marijuana and hemp laws has a great impact in Indian Country. Even after the Obama-era guidance, tribes in California, South Dakota and Wisconsin were raided or threatened with raids for growing crops. Nevada followed suit. The Las Vegas Paiute Tribe has since opened NuWu Cannabis Marketplace, which bills itself as the largest marijuana dispensary in the planet. Offering service 24 hours a day -- including through a drive-up window -- the business is already a major part of the local economy, partnering with The Lights FC, the professional soccer team in Las Vegas. "NuWu has invested all sorts of money and resources into growing downtown,” Lights owner Brett Lashbrook said in April, when the tribe's sponsorship with the team was announced. Obama-era Guidance [Since Rescinded]:
Policy Statement Regarding Marijuana Issues in Indian Country (October 2014)