According to our news partners at AL.com, officials with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians said they are evaluating the Justice Department decision that cleared the way for the potentially lucrative business of marijuana cultivation and sales on tribal lands.
“We just found out about the ruling,” said Robert McGhee, Government Relations Director for the Poarch Creek. “We have not yet had an opportunity to investigate all the implications.”
The Poarch Creek is one of 566 federally recognized tribes around the country. They currently operate Wind Creek Casinos in south Alabama.
The Justice Department issued a memo to U.S. attorneys last week informing them tribes will be allowed to grow and sell marijuana on reservations, even on states where the drug remains illegal. The move could open the door to legal pot sales in every state, though the department said the business will be regulated by the government.
“The tribes have the sovereign right to set the code on their reservations,” said Timothy Purdon, the U.S. attorney for North Dakota and the chairman of the Attorney General’s Subcommittee on Native American Issues, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The regulations will be the same as those followed by states that have legalized the drug, including not selling marijuana to minors or transporting it to areas where it’s illegal. Any marijuana grown on reservations would not be subject to state or local taxes.
It’s not clear how many tribes would actually be interested in entering the marijuana trade. Oregon U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall told AP only three tribes – one in California, one in Washington state and one in the Midwest – have expressed an interest in the marijuana business.