The U.S. Justice Department is releasing a memorandum today to U.S. attorneys requesting that they allow Native Americans to grow and sell cannabis on their own sovereign lands, even in states that don’t allow it, so long as they follow certain guidelines such as not distributing to minors.
The announcement, which comes just a year after the Justice Department’s decision to stop federal cannabis prosecutions in states that have legalized the substance, opens the doors to a potential new industry for Native Americans across the country. However, tribes wishing to allow sales of cannabis must still have “robust and effective regulatory systems in place”, meaning primarily that cannabis is kept out of the hands of children, and not transported to areas that prohibit it.
Tribes will still be able to request that federal law is upheld on their lands, if they decide that they don’t want cannabis to be legal. However, those that are interested in allowing the cultivation and distribution of the plant will be authorized to do so, and the government will stay out of it, as long as a regulatory system is in place.