Published: Jun 17, 2015, 8:12 am
By Regina Garcia Cano, The Associated Press
FLANDREAU, S.D. — An Indian tribe in eastern South Dakota plans to start selling marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes by Jan. 1, becoming the first tribe in the state to legalize the sale of cannabis across its whole territory.
Leaders of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe said Tuesday that marijuana will be cultivated and sold at a single, indoor site on the reservation, after the tribe’s council last week approved it to be grown and sold on tribal land. That follows a federal decision last year that gave tribes the power to grow and sell pot under some conditions.
“It looks like it’s getting a lot of momentum,” tribal president Anthony Reider said. “The more we dug into it we realized that for us to be able to get ahead of it and get into it early would be a good thing.”
While some tribes view marijuana as an economic opportunity, others fear it could lead to negative public safety and health consequences. A district within the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in western South Dakota legalized the use and cultivation of marijuana this year, but has made no further plans. The tribal council on Pine Ridge — which is in dire need of economic opportunities but also has high rates of violence and alcohol addiction — rejected a proposal to legalize pot on the full reservation last year.
The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, which already operates a casino on its land, is looking at this business operation as a source of revenue that would allow the community to develop housing, build an addiction treatment center and improve the local clinic, among other projects. Tribal leaders estimate a monthly profit of up to $2 million a month.
But for all the hype that the decision may create among pot enthusiasts or individuals who have a prescription for the drug, South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley has warned that non-Indians would still be breaking the law if they consume pot on the reservation.
Jackley said there are some reservations growing and selling pot in states where either recreational or medical marijuana is legal. But he said he is not aware of any other state attorney general dealing directly with the legalization of pot in a state where marijuana is against the law other than …Read More