For decades now, American Indian tribes have benefited from a booming, nationwide casino industry. Now, a growing number of tribes are hoping to use a similar legal strategy to enter another controversial and highly lucrative industry: marijuana farming.
As The Telegraph reports, the legalization of marijuana in states like Washington and Colorado has prompted numerous American Indian tribes to look into growing and selling marijuana as a cash crop. Interests have spiked since last December, as well, when the Department of Justice released a memorandum that officially recognized tribes' right to grow marijuana on tribal land—even if that land falls in a state that still considers marijuana an illegal substance.
"A number of seminal Supreme Court cases have established that tribes have the right to make their own laws and be ruled by them," Anthony Broadman, an Oregon lawyer specializing in American Indian affairs, told The Telegraph. "It could be the next green gold rush," he added, referring to the interest in marijuana as a tribal crop.
Many tribes are reportedly already negotiating with state authorities about growing marijuana, hoping to strike deals similar to the ones that have bolstered the prevalence of American Indian casinos. Since 1988, Indian Gaming Regulatory Act has allowed American Indian tribes establish a nationwide, $27 billion gambling and entertainment industry.
Mixed Support Among the Tribes
The surging American Indian interest in marijuana farming is perhaps best exemplified in Native Nation Events' annual networking conference in San Diego this year. Approximately 40% of the nation's recognized tribes are expected to attend the conference which, this year, is being held in conjunction with the Indian Country Cannabis Association.
Not all tribes are showing the same enthusiasm for the marijuana business, however. The Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, which represents 57 tribal governments across six states, has issued their resistance to the movement, citing concerns that the introduction of a major marijuana industry on tribal land will only exacerbate already concerning drug issues in troubled tribal communities.
Are you facing a drug-related criminal charge? If so, I invite you to contact my firm, The Samuelson Law Firm. For nearly two decades, I have been defending the rights of the accused in the Colorado court system. Over that time, I have developed effective, aggressive legal strategies that ensure that my clients receive every consideration they deserve under the law.
Don't face this troubling time alone. Contact a dedicated Colorado Springs criminal defense lawyer ready to fight for your best interests. Call my firm today.