Montana’s Crow Tribe is about to legalize adult cannabis sales

The Crow Tribe in southern Montana is about to launch its own retail cannabis market, closely synced with the state’s new legal weed industry.

Last week, the Crow Nation Legislature passed the Crow Cannabis Ordinance, a new measure that allows the tribe to sell legal weeds to adults. The tribal government will oversee all aspects of this new industry, from cultivation to processing to retail sales. The ordinance stipulated that a sales tax of 7 percent is levied on all pot products, but the specific licensing and retailing provisions have not yet been finalized.

Frank White Clay, chairman of the Crow Tribe, has yet to approve the ordinance before it can go into effect, but he has already proposed to do so. “We’re moving forward,” White Clay told the Billings Gazette. “We are diversifying our economy across the tribe. Coal was the name of the game for the tribe for a while, but for good business we have to diversify within the reservation. “

“We have had medical marijuana for a long time and the Crow Tribe is not isolated,” White Clay continued. “The reservation itself is more acceptable (of cannabis) and we’re just moving with the times.”

Montana voted to legalize adult cannabis sales in last year’s elections and is currently working on drafting retail regulations before sales begin next January. As a sovereign tribal nation, the Crow Tribe does not have to comply with these regulations and can start selling weeds at any time. Despite this freedom, the tribe says they will work closely with the Governor of Montana’s Indian Affairs Office to stay in line with the state’s new regulations on adult use.

“We’re not just paralleling the state on transfer and transaction limits … the Crow Tribe goes further … in terms of labeling, testing and that kind of rubric,” said Thor Hoyte, legal advisor to the Crow Tribe. to the Gazette.

The separation between federal, state, and tribal laws has resulted in a confusing patchwork of cannabis laws among Native American nations. In 2015, the Santee Sioux Tribe in South Dakota tried to open a legal weed resort but eventually scrapped their plans (and burned over $ 1 million worth of weeds) when they learned the government was planning to raid them .

The Obama administration eventually promised tribal tribes to launch their own legal weed programs, but nonetheless, the government continued to step in and deny these attempts at tribal pot reform.

However, popular support for cannabis continues to grow every year, and a growing number of strains are boldly launching their own legal weed markets. For the past two years, Minnesota’s Red Lake Nation and White Earth Nation have legalized medical marijuana, and Michigan’s Bay Mills Indian Community has launched its own independent adult market.

The Oglala Sioux tribe in South Dakota also voted to legalize adult weed sales in 2020, creating a further separation between state and tribal law. South Dakota voters also passed an election campaign to legalize adult weeds across the state last year, but state politicians managed to use legal engineering to overturn the legalization.

While the threat of federal intervention still looms, the Crow Tribe is confident that legalization is the right choice. “Regarding federal government involvement, the Crow Tribe made the decision that it is highly unlikely that it will attempt to prevent a 75% unemployment tribe from participating in a $ 24 billion industry,” said Hoyte to the Billings Gazette.

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