Tribal lands are supposed to be sovereign, and managed by the Native Americans that reside on the lands. The U.S. government has had its own idea as to what sovereign really means though, but do permit gambling and casinos.
Native Americans have attempted to get involved in the legal marijuana industry many times but it has been challenging for them. Government authorizes have raided and destroyed marijuana crops multiple times and now tribes have created the California Native American Cannabis Association. Do you think that the U.S. government should be less involved with the management of tribal lands?
The newly formed California Native American Cannabis Association is asking Gov. Jerry Brown to begin government-to-government consultations with tribes to ensure that cannabis regulations include specific language to respect tribal sovereignty and the right to self-regulate. The law governing California’s multibillion-dollar cannabis industry goes into effect on January 1 but currently does not include specific language addressing the sovereign rights of Indian nations.
To help build tribal support and ensure that tribal sovereignty is protected in the new law, C-NACA is planning a symposium on tribal cannabis issues from October 29 to November 1 at the Morongo Casino Resort in Cabazon, California.
“Just like gaming, it’s our sovereign right to get into this industry without compromising our rights,” said Blue Quisquis, President of Emerald Enterprise and Sapphire MJ Solutions, who has an extensive background in gaming operations and is now helping tribes enter into the cannabis market. “We organized C-NACA to build tribal support and to educate our fellow tribes about all aspects of the industry.
“Like gaming, tribes are very capable of developing and regulating tribal cannabis operation through self-regulation to ensure the licensing of products is safe for all consumers. We can set standards to protect the public health and safety of our Community. We’re asking all California tribes to support the sovereign rights of those tribes getting into the cannabis business.”
Utu Utu Gwaitu Paiute Chairwoman Tina Braithwaite, an association member, said, “Tribes should be allowed to get into this industry without giving up sovereignty or jurisdiction to govern our land and people. We should not be subjected to the business licensing structure that the state is putting in place because we are self-governing nations and should be treated as nations. It’s very important for tribes to have strong regulatory bodies to show transparency and demonstrate that we are able to not only meet but also exceed California’s regulations in some areas.
“For those California tribes seeking to participate in the industry, it’s important to have government-to-government consultations with Governor Brown so that we are included in the law,” Braithwaite said. “Otherwise, tribes are going to get locked out of the marketplace. Currently, draft regulations do not include provisions for tribes, even though requests were made during the public comment period and after.”
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