The legalization of recreational marijuana in California left Native Americans out in the cold.
Proposition 64, which voters approved in 2016, lets local governments decide whether to allow cannabis dispensaries to operate within their jurisdictions. But it made no provisions for tribes.
As far as the state is concerned, tribes can do whatever they want with cannabis on their reservations, which are considered sovereign nations.
“But they cannot operate in the licensed California market,” said Alex Traverso, a spokesman for the California Bureau of Cannabis Control, which oversees licensing of dispensaries.
For the past couple of years, some tribes have been trying to change that. But the state insists that its regulators must have control over any operations on reservation land, something tribal officials say is unacceptable. The ability to regulate themselves in all matters is a basic tenet of their sovereign status as independent nations, they say.
The result is that tribes have been shut out of the far more lucrative California cannabis market because they can’t sell their product beyond tribal land. [Read more at The Washington Post]