DEA v. Native Americans

Here’s an excerpt from a longer story, and one that’s worth your time. Are Native Americans sovereign on their own land? In the eyes of the DEA, is anyone?


Operating in a state that’s both hostile to Indians and doesn’t even have legal medical marijuana made the Flandreau Santee Sioux grow a bold proposition from the start. But, after a January 29, 2015, meeting with the U.S. Attorney for South Dakota, tribal officials felt they had enough legal cover to proceed. “We don’t mind being first,” Tribal President Tony Reider said in June. “It’s not something we strive for. We’ve done our due diligence, we’ve checked and we’ve had to have a certain comfort level before we dive into something…especially something this big, something that’s going to be under such a large microscope.”

The tribe partnered with Monarch America, a small Colorado-based consulting group, to build and manage the grow. Monarch CEO, Eric Hagen, and vice president, Jonathan Hunt, oversaw the conversion of an old storage facility into a state-of-the-art indoor grow. Next door, the tribe began refurbishing a former bowling alley into a gleaming new performance center and cannabis-friendly nightclub.

South Dakota state officials hated the project. Publicly, State Attorney General Marty Jackley said he respected the tribe’s authority, but reminded them that possession and use of marijuana by non-Indians remained illegal off the reservation. Privately, reports circulated that Jackley was considering all kinds of ways to kill the project: setting up sobriety checks at the reservation boundary; searching cars and arresting non-Indians as they left the nightclub; inviting in the DEA. “The tribe is considered a sovereign nation,” Monarch America CEO, Eric Hagen, told Leafly a few weeks before the shutdown. “Some people in South Dakota don’t feel that’s the case.”
. . .
What really seemed to alarm the agents wasn’t the THC level, though. It was the presence of the white guys from Colorado. Law enforcement officers “witnessed individuals appearing to be non-native come and go” at the crop field, DEA Special Agent Curran wrote. This was, he claimed, a “clear violation of Federal Law and Wisconsin State law.”

Using Curran’s affidavit as probable cause, a team of federal agents descended on the Menominee hemp grow on Friday, October 23. The feds called in dump trucks and heavy equipment to rip and confiscate more than 16,000 plants and equipment related to the grow.

In a single day, the Menominee Tribe’s entire hemp investment vanished.

This is another fine mess we have to set right once re-legalization arrives. There’s a damn long list of things that are going to need fixing. Keep up with this story and read the complete original post HERE.


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Author: DavidB

a heathen, but hopefully not an unenlightened one

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