Last week, the Justice Department issued a memo providing guidance in regard to the growing and selling of marijuana on tribal lands. The memo authored by Monty Wilkinson, Director of the Executive Office for United States attorneys, can be found here.
The memo establishes that if a Native American Tribe chooses to legalize the cultivation and use of marijuana, the Federal Government will not prosecute federal marijuana laws, as long as the Tribe follow the eight priorities set forth in the Cole Memorandum. These eight priorities can be summarized as follows:
- Preventing distribution to minors
- Preventing revenue going to criminal gangs and cartels
- Preventing diversion to other states
- Preventing violence in cultivation/distribution of marijuana
- Preventing drugged driving
- Preventing cultivation and use on public and federal lands
Nothing in the Wilkinson Memo alters the authority of the Federal Government to enforce federal law in Indian Country. Additionally, the Federal Government will still enforce federal marijuana laws if so requested by a Tribe.
The Memo, however, does provide a framework for the legalization of marijuana on tribal lands; and it is likely that some tribes will proceed with marijuana legalization. This should allow for interesting opportunities especially in those States that have not yet legalized marijuana.
For more information on the regulation of recreational marijuana businesses, please contact Heather Wolf.