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The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday that the Obama Administration will direct attorneys not to prosecute Native American tribes for growing marijuana on Indian reservations. While the usual restrictions remain – can’t be sold to minors, can’t be traded to drug cartels, ect. –Indian reservations would be able to sell and grow in states that have not legalized marijuana.
It’s an interesting decision from the Obama Administration because it’s giving Indian reservations the right to implement marijuana laws in how they see fit. This would put marijuana laws on the same standard as collecting taxes or gambling laws on reservations. While many will look at this as an opportunity for economic growth, similar to how gaming regulations have changed Indian reservations for both good and bad, other tribes might be less hesitant.
Many Indian tribes are well aware of their history with drug and alcohol abuse. In a 2011 study on ethnicity and drug abuse, they found that 15% of Native Americans from ages 12 to 17 suffer from drug abuse. For that reason it would be understandable why many tribes would be hesitant to legalize marijuana or any drug on their reservation.
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