Some of you may remember that time the federal government said it was okay for Native American tribes to legalize marijuana on reservation land. Various tribes have taken advantage of this leniency from the feds, although for one tribe things are not going smoothly.
Now the Menominee tribe in Wisconsin has voted to legalize cannabis on their 360 acres of reservation land. A huge vote of the tribe passed medical marijuana (899 to 275) while a smaller margin (677 to 499) approved recreational marijuana legalization.
“This is new ground,” said Menominee chairman Gary Besaw. “We have to start looking at developing best practices and draft ordinances to maximize the benefits we believe are possible and minimize the consequences we believe also are possible.”
Not everyone in the tribe is happy about breaking new ground, and many are worried about breaking Wisconsin and federal law. Arbitrarily allowing certain groups the right to legalize cannabis creates a huge legal gray area.
Three of the remaining 10 reservations in Wisconsin are said to be seriously considering legalizing marijuana as well. For those looking for a boon to their tribe’s economy, cannabis is a great option, creating jobs and spurring economic activity.
Beyond anything else, tribes considering marijuana legalization contribute to the overall spread of cannabis education and to bringing cannabis more into the mainstream. And more freedom is always a good thing, even if it was bestowed on one particular group and could be snatched away at any time.
Ultimately the goal is cannabis legalization for all adults in the United States, regardless of their ethnic makeup. But that is still several years away; for now bringing cannabis freedom to any group, whether it’s 1,000 people or 20 million people, should be considered progress.