FLANDREAU, S.D. (AP) - The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe’s decision to end a longstanding policing agreement with the city of Flandreau predated the tribe’s decision to legalize marijuana, a tribal attorney says.
Inadequate policing and the city’s poor relationship with the tribe were the reasons behind the tribe’s decision to end the 16-year policing agreement, effective Sept. 4, attorney Seth Pearman told the Argus Leader (https://argusne.ws/1K7g0dv ).
“I think there’s a general lack of cooperation to work with the tribe in adequately policing the tribal lands,” he said.
The city of Flandreau is on the border of the tribe’s reservation and not affiliated with the tribal government. The tribe gave the city a 90-day notice in June that it is ending a 16-year law enforcement contract and forming its own police department.
Flandreau Mayor Mark Bonrud said earlier that he thinks the move is related to the tribe’s decision to grow and sell marijuana for recreational and medicinal use by the end of the year. The tribe estimates a monthly profit of up to $2 million from a 15,000-square-foot recreational area.
The tribe’s marijuana legalization vote in June came six months after the U.S. Justice Department outlined a new policy allowing sovereign American Indian tribes to grow and sell marijuana on tribal lands under the same conditions laid out for states that have legalized the drug. Law enforcement authorities across South Dakota have voiced concerns about problems that legalizing marijuana might cause, from impaired driving to marijuana trafficking.
Flandreau Police Chief Anthony Schrad said his officers would have been able to arrest non-Native Americans for marijuana use.
“Obviously, from a business standpoint, you can see why you can’t have us in there, because we could essentially arrest everyone who is non-Native,” he said. “That’s why I personally believe the joint power agreement was terminated.”
The tribe denies that claim. City officers would have needed permission to go in the tribe’s marijuana facility, Pearman said.
Information from: Argus Leader, https://www.argusleader.com
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