The Las Vegas Paiute Tribe owns and operates the NuWu Cannabis Marketplace in Las Vegas, Nevada. It's billed as the largest marijuana dispensary in the planet. Photo: NuWu Cannabis Marketplace

Trump will 'probably end up supporting' marijuana bill that helps tribes



President Donald Trump is expressing support for a bipartisan bill that recognizes tribal and state sovereignty over marijuana.

As he departed for his historic summit with North Korea on Friday, Trump was asked about the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States Act, also known as the STATES Act. The bill, introduced a day prior, ensures that tribes and states can legalize marijuana without facing federal enforcement.

"I support Senator Gardner," Trump told reporters, referring to Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado), a co-sponsor of S.3032 and an advocate for the marijuana and hemp industry in Colorado.

"I know exactly what he’s doing; we’re looking at it. But I probably will end up supporting that, yes," Trump continued, according to the White House transcript.

Sens. Gardner and Warren Hold Press Conference on the STATES Act

Trump's position appears to run counter to that of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the leader of the Department of Justice who rescinded Obama-era guidance on tribal and state marijuana and has vowed to crack down on any growing operations. But it reflects a promise that Gardner said the president himself made in April.

"President Trump has assured me that he will support a federalism-based legislative solution to fix this states’ rights issue once and for all," Gardner said as he agreed to stop placing holds on DOJ nominees, which he had done after Sessions rescinded the guidance in January.


S.3032, which also legalizes industrial hemp, has been referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. It has not yet been granted a hearing.

The House version of the STATES Act is H.R.6043. It has not been granted a hearing either.

“The Suquamish Tribe supports this reasoned and pragmatic approach to regulating marijuana in the United States," Chairman Leonard Forsman said following introduction of the bill last week. "It recognizes the dual sovereignty of states and tribal nations -- striking the appropriate balance and respect for each sovereign and their voters’ decisions regarding the decriminalization of marijuana."

Obama-Era Guidance [Since Rescinded]:
Policy Statement Regarding Marijuana Issues in Indian Country (October 2014)

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Bill recognizes tribal sovereignty over marijuana amid uncertainty in Washington (June 7, 2018)