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Minnesota Native American Tribe May Enter The Marijuana Industry


red lake band of chippewa minnesota marijuanaRecently the federal government came out and stated that they would not prevent tribes from growing and selling marijuana if the tribe decided to do so on tribal lands. Slowly but surely, some tribes are exploring the idea. One tribe in California has already stated that they will be growing marijuana, although the only sales that will occur will be directly to medical marijuana dispensaries. Another tribe in Minnesota has started a feasibility study to see if they should get into the marijuana industry. Per MPR News:

The Red Lake Band of Chippewa in northern Minnesota is exploring whether to grow and sell marijuana following a recent U.S. Department of Justice memo allowing the practice on reservations even in states where marijuana is illegal.

The U.S. Department of Justice in December ruled that American Indian tribes can legalize marijuana on reservations as long as they follow conditions that also govern states like Colorado that have legalized marijuana. The requirements include preventing the drug’s distribution to minors, ensuring that criminals don’t benefit from its sale and preventing drugged driving.

Red Lake Nation’s tribal council voted this week to conduct a feasibility study on the industry. David Manuel, an enrolled member of Red Lake Nation and an advocate for producing marijuana, argues that the industry would provide an economic opportunity for Red Lake.

When a tribe in California announced that they would be growing medical marijuana and selling it to California dispensaries, I wasn’t that blown away. There are a lot of people growing marijuana and selling it to dispensaries in California already. I was waiting to see a tribe in a not-so-established marijuana state step up, such as the Red Lake Band of Chippewa in Minnesota. Marijuana is not nearly as accessible in Minnesota as it is in California, and I think that if the Minnesota tribe does indeed get into the marijuana industry, it could bring a huge economic boost to the tribe. Hopefully their study is favorable and they get started right away.


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Johnny Green


  1. I hope the informational meetings scheduled next month provide the incentive for our nation, The Red Lake Nation, to vote in favor of it when it is voted on by it’s enrolled members in an upcoming referendum. Thank you for your interest.

  2. Whyiowa4medical on

    Been There I agree with you 100%. Making cannabis a C-II adds a legal dimension beyond the DEA to all restrictions. The BNDD (Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs) exert powers over doctors that can cost a good one their career. I had a very good, very friendly, and communicative doctor once forget to sign my prescription for a C-II controlled drug. We were talking some current medical issue and he simply forgot!!! The BNDD took away his license to prescribe narcotics (he also worked in a large hospital) predominantly ruining his career, placing a “Red Flag” on me just after a major surgery. I was set by the county prosecutor to be arrested and charged with a 10 year sentence, when he told them that he had issued the prescription and no fraud had taken place the prosecutor tore up the warrant for me. He could have lied and let me go to prison, but he was a good doctor. He referred me to a colleague, but each time I filled a prescription the doctor was called. No matter where I had them filled in the state.
    If we get tied in with the BNDD doctors will not know enough about cannabis and the strains involved to be comfortable prescribing. I promise, more people will go to prison and doctors will lose their careers. Likely for things that are just as simple as my former doctors mistake. As casino’s are on Native Lands as well, and most casino’s have hotels I would quickly set up a floor or two of green rooms. Not to mention, if you are willing to live simply, most good people would be invited to live on Native Lands. Actually, I was born in the USA, does this not make any land I occupy Native American? I share the spiritual beliefs, does this not qualify me completely? The Earth God Mescal loves me, or so I was told after a Native Church Peyote experience. Should I not receive the rights and honors that go with that love?

  3. I upvoted your comment but I am of the opinion that a little tweak is called for: Cannabis should be removed from the CSA (not just Sched 1) immediately.

  4. God Bless every Native American tribe that’s doing this. Cancer patients need safe and legal access to Marijuana. The current situation breaks my heart. We need immediate action from Washington to get Marijuana taken off of Schedule 1 so Physicians can prescribe it. In the meantime, any path to safe, legal, access to Medical Marijuana that Cancer patients can get is a godsend for them! The current situation is NUTS. Marijuana should be removed from Schedule 1 immediately.

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