Can Tribes Grow and Sell Marijuana?
On December 11, 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) said Native American tribes can grow and sell marijuana on their lands. So far, only three tribes across the country, and one in California, has shown an interest in doing so. DOJ did not name the California tribe.
Marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Although DOJ has the authority to prosecute marijuana felonies on tribal lands, the agency stated generally it will not enforce federal marijuana laws on federally recognized tribes that choose to grow and sell marijuana. The tribes must meet eight federal guidelines, including not selling marijuana to minors and not transporting marijuana to areas that prohibit it.
The question is how federally recognized tribes in northern California will react to this change. It is also unknown how DOJ will implement the policy in the manner it stated: on a case by case basis. Reaction to the delay may be slow. Tribes will likely need to reach a consensus and implement their own policies.
DOJ’s change does not make it legal for those who are members of a tribe or not members of a tribe to grow marijuana on Native American lands and sell marijuana without the tribe’s permission. If you have been charged with marijuana possession or sale, call Gabe Quinnan at (707) 540-2356. Gabe Quinnan is an experienced criminal defense attorney who has represented clients facing marijuana-related charges in Mendocino, Sonoma, Lake, and Marin Counties. He help you reach the best possible resolution in your case.
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