MaryJ List

Native Americans are Legally Allowed to use Marijuana for Non-Medicinal Purposes

Native Americans have many laws providing them with rights otherwise illegal to the general American public. A well-known example of this would be the legality of gambling and casinos on Native American reservations, despite laws illegalizing gambling in almost all other areas of the country. They now have another law which grants them more privileges than the average American citizen. Now, while they are competing at their casinos, they can relax and enjoy the benefits of recreational Marijuana. As of October 2014, Native Americans have been legally allowed to buy, sell, possess, and use Cannabis for both medicinal and recreational purposes(1).

While this has sparked controversy, this has also sparked a great deal of confusion for a multitude of reasons. For one thing, non-Native Americans are upset that Native Americans are legally allowed to have Marijuana and they are not. Also, the federal police seem to be confused about law as well. As a matter of fact, recently federal troops seized over twelve-thousand plants from Native American reserves. The two reserves most affected by the seizure were the Pit River Tribe and the Alturas Indian Rancheria in northeastern California, who are now protesting to get their plants back. To add to the confusion, even though the plants were seized, federal troops have not been able to file any formal charges against the Native Americans. This sparks the question as to why the federal troops took the plants in the first place, especially if they were not going to charge any Native Americans with criminal offenses(2).

Despite all of the negative criticism of the legalization of Cannabis for Native Americans, and the confusion that came along with it, there have also been many supporters of the bill. While the majority of the support lies within Native American communities, many also see this as a step in the right direction towards legalization of Marijuana for the entire national community within the United States. This correlation is not unfounded, either. As the government is beginning to turn towards a more accepting view of the substance, they will most likely try to slowly integrate it into society, pieces at a time. In essence, the Native Americans are acting as a test group for the rest of the nation, to see if the United States is ready to handle something like Marijuana(3).

Overall, while Cannabis is not legal everywhere in the United States, it is making strides towards getting fully legalized. With Native Americans now allowed to use it, a trend is being seen of it integrating into society. While the legalization of Marijuana for Native Americans has sparked both controversy and support, it is safe to say that history is being made through this experiment.

(1) "The Federal Government Just Made Marijuana Legal in All Native American Reservations in the US - TNM NEWS." TNM NEWS. March 12, 2015. Accessed October 10, 2015. http://thenationalmarijuananews.com/2015/03/the-federal-government-just-made-marijuana-legal-in-all-native-american-reservations-in-the-us-2/.

(2) Brave, Julian. "These Native American Tribes Legalized Weed, but That Did Not Stop Them from Getting Raided by the Feds." Huffpost Politics. July 7, 2015. Accessed October 10, 2015. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/pit-river-marijuana-raid_55a938cfe4b0f904bebfe52a.

(3) "Feds to Allow Marijuana Sales on Native American Lands." Marijuana. December 11, 2014. Accessed October 10, 2015. http://www.marijuana.com/blog/news/2014/12/feds-to-allow-marijuana-sales-on-native-american-lands/.

-Jammin Joe,

10/09/15