- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 24, 2014

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A recent announcement by the U.S. Department of Justice gave the go-ahead for American Indian tribes to grow and sell marijuana on their land, but several northeast Kansas tribes said they have no current plans to allow it.

Mark Dodd, interim director of the Kansas Native American Affairs Office, told The Topeka Capital-Journal (https://bit.ly/16QyDQE ) that his office is aware of the Justice Department’s memo earlier this month and is looking into what it means for Kansas.

“It’s an issue that will have to be worked out,” Dodd said. “We will have further discussions.”

Kansas is one of only a few states with concurrent criminal jurisdiction, meaning state laws apply on tribal lands and state law enforcement agencies have jurisdiction on those lands.

Nearly two weeks ago, the Justice Department said tribes can grow and sell marijuana on their lands as long as they follow the same federal conditions laid out for states that have legalized the drug.

Frank Thomas, vice chairman of the Tribal Council of the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas, said his tribe needs more information before making a final statement on the issue. The option to legalize marijuana on the reservation would be up to its membership, he said, but he doesn’t think it’s something the tribe would endorse.

“I don’t see how it would benefit us,” Thomas said. “I have seen the social effects it has played on our people and all around the world.”

Alan Kelley, vice president of the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska, said he sees no need for allowing marijuana on reservations.

Meanwhile, tribal council members for the Sac and Fox Nation of Missouri in Kansas and Nebraska said they will wait and see how things play out before making a statement.

Messages the newspaper left with the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation weren’t immediately returned.


Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, https://www.cjonline.com



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