PCI investigating pot sales ruling
Published 5:07 pm Tuesday, December 16, 2014
By Justin Schuver
For The Brewton Standard
A recent ruling by the U.S. Department of Justice could allow marijuana cultivation and sales on Indian tribal lands, but Poarch Band of Creek Indians (PCI) officials say they are still evaluating the language of that ruling.
On Thursday, the Justice Department told U.S. attorneys that tribes will be allowed to grow and sell marijuana on reservations, even in states where the drug remains illegal.
The ruling could allow for legal pot sales in nearly every state, but Justice Department officials said that the transactions will be closely monitored and must meet all federal regulations.
Robbie McGhee, PCI government relations director, said it is far too early to speculate whether the tribe would consider relaxing marijuana restrictions on its tribal lands.
“We just found out about the ruling,” McGhee told AL.com. “We have not yet had an opportunity to investigate all the implications.”
When reached by The Advance, PCI community liaison Sharon Delmar said that the tribe had no additional official comment at the current time.
“We just found out about it like everyone else in the country,” she said. “At this point, the tribe just doesn’t feel comfortable on commenting on it any further.”
PCI is one of 556 federally recognized tribes in the U.S., and is the only such tribe in Alabama.
Oregon U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall told the Associated Press that only three tribes have expressed any interest in the marijuana business. Those tribes include one in California, one in Washington state and one in the Midwest.
“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, to The Los Angeles Times.
According to The Times story, the marijuana regulations will be the same as those followed by states that have legalized the drug. Such regulations include not selling it to minors, and not transporting it to areas where it is illegal.
Any marijuana grown on reservations would not be subject to state or local taxes.
The states of Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia have already legalized some form of marijuana sale or possession.