Marijuana Protections For Indian Tribes Included In Key Congressional Spending Bill, With Some Exceptions

Marijuana Protections For Indian Tribes Included In Key Congressional Spending Bill, With Some Exceptions
MJ moment

Congressional leaders are seeking protections for Indian tribes against being federally prosecuted simply because they’ve legalized marijuana within their territory. However, there are some nuances to the proposed protections included a spending bill released by a House Appropriations subcommittee on Monday. The Fiscal Year 2023 appropriations legislation for the Department of the Interior is somewhat similar to previous sections attached to different spending bills as amendments that have pushed to give cannabis safeguards to tribes. However, this new section comes with contingencies not seen before, including a policy stating that tribes in states that haven’t legalized marijuana aren’t covered under the protections. The tribal marijuana language is one of several cannabis-related proposals that have been filed in spending bills for various agencies over the past week. It also comes on the heels of a Senate committee listening session on Friday that explored cannabis issues for Native Americans, touching on areas such as tribal sovereignty in the marijuana space, agreements with state governments and taxation. Overall, the new House cannabis provision—which is notably attached to the base bill as introduced by panel leaders, meaning no amendments will be necessary as with past similar measures—says that no federal funds appropriated to agencies within Interior, Justice Department, Bureau of Indian Affairs or Office of Justice Services could be used to “enforce federal laws criminalizing the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of marijuana against any person engaged in the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of marijuana in Indian country” where such activity is authorized. But it’s not an all-encompassing protection, as the section goes on to say that the policy is “subject” to two exceptions. First, federal funds could still be used to interfere in tribal cannabis activity if the territory is located within a state that maintains prohibition, for example. Indian tribes must…

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