Attorney General Marty Jackley is emphasizing in many statements, including one released Thursday, that the possession, distribution and manufacture of marijuana is a violation of both federal and state law.
He said he respects tribe’s authority to “pass laws that govern Indian persons within Indian Country.” However, he made it clear that state law prohibits non-Indians from smoking and possessing marijuana on reservations and that tribal members also can’t smoke or possess it outside of their boundaries.
“I want to encourage tribal leaders to continue to work with state authorities to better ensure our respective laws are followed, public safety on our roads remains a consideration, and that both Indian and non-Indian persons are not put in harm’s way by the jurisdiction complexities being created by our federal government,” Jackley said Thursday.
That was just a day after the Flandreau tribe, the state’s smallest with about 350 members on its reservation just north of Sioux Falls bordering the Minnesota border, announced it had hired Monarch America, a cannabis management company from Denver, to help gets it operation going.
The plans include a 10,000-square-foot growing facility and a 15,000-square-foot recreational marijuana smoking lounge that also would have a bowling alley, arcade games, gambling machines, a bar, restaurant and a music venue for outdoor festivals where marijuana could be consumed.
Tribal officials have said interstate traffic studies they used showed that people would travel to the reservation from larger population centers in the region, including Fargo, Omaha, Neb., Rapid City, S.D., and Sioux Falls as well as smaller towns in between.
The tribe’s executive committee voted earlier this month to allow recreational pot smoking, as well as a growing operation, on its reservation that borders the town of Flandreau where it already operates the Royal River Casino. A detailed 36-page marijuana control ordinance was passed by the council, despite some opposition from tribal members.
The tribe is the first in the nation to legalize marijuana on its lands in a state where it is not legal. Tribal officials have told the Forum News Service previously that the tribe is trying to get ahead of the curve in growing operations on tribal lands in the nation and hopes to earn possibly $2 million a month for the tribe down the road to help with medical and housing needs on the reservation.
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