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house Bill H.R. 1416

Should Tribes Be Free From Federal Punishment if They Legalize Marijuana?

Argument in favor

Tribes are rightfully considered sovereign governments with the authority to make many of their own laws. This includes drug policy and marijuana legalization. The federal government shouldn’t interfere with this authority or punish tribes for exercising it.

burrkitty's Opinion
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05/18/2019
Tribal Land is Sovereign. If Congress would just decriminalize and get on with it, we wouldn’t have to do all these piecemeal bills. LET IT GO. It’s over. It’s not a S1. It’s not as dangerous as Alcohol or Tobacco. It’s not a “gateway”. It’s a proxy for racism. We know the lies are lies. Just stop.
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Jonathan's Opinion
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05/18/2019
Tribes are sovereign entities and should not be punished for legalizing marijuana. Considering that several states have legalized marijuana, this has become a Tenth Amendment issue meaning that the Federal government does not have the right to negate the laws enacted in the states and state rights herein.
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eireprof's Opinion
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05/18/2019
JUST MAKE IT LEGAL AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL ALREADY!!!
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Argument opposed

Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, and the provision of funds and services by the federal government should be contingent upon tribes’ compliance with federal laws, including the federal marijuana prohibition.

SneakyPete's Opinion
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05/18/2019
👎🏻 DON’T LEGALIZE THE GATEWAY DRUG “MARIJUANA” 😔 Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, and the provision of funds and services by the federal government should be contingent upon tribes’ compliance with federal laws, including the federal marijuana prohibition. SneakyPete..... 👎🏻👎🏻Marijuana 👎🏻👎🏻. 5.8.19.....
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ManfromNebraska's Opinion
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05/18/2019
Marijuana is a gateway drug and will lead to more under the influence accidents. Whatever happened to “Just say no to Drugs”? Now liberals want “Just say Yes to Drugs”! Drug the population and you can control the population! No to legalizing marijuana!
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Gopin2018's Opinion
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05/19/2019
No; gateway drug. Federal law is supreme. #MAGA
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Indigenous Peoples of the United States
      Committee on Natural Resources
    IntroducedFebruary 27th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 1416?

This bill — the Tribal Marijuana Sovereignty Act of 2019 — would protect Native American tribes from federal punishment if they choose to legalize marijuana. It’d prohibit the federal government from withholding funds or making tribes ineligible for contracts, grants, and other benefits for ending the prohibition on cannabis possession, sale, or cultivation.

It’d also authorize Indian Health Services (IHS) physicians to make medical recommendations to their patients with regard to marijuana and to complete forms reflecting such recommendations.

For tribes that oppose marijuana legalization, this bill would also clarify that they can continue prohibiting marijuana possession, production, and sale regardless of the laws of the states surrounding their borders.

Impact

Native American tribes; tribal lands; tribal reservations; cannabis businesses on tribal lands; IHS physicians; and U.S. Attorneys.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1416

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Don Young (R-AK), co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, reintroduced this bill from the 114th Congress to ensure self-determination for Indian tribes to decide how to best govern themselves in regard to marijuana.

In 2016, Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), who sponsored this bill in the 114th Congress, said:

“I strongly believe states should be allowed to enact their own marijuana laws, and have consistently supported attempts to ensure federal laws do not interfere with them. I’m also an ardent supporter of tribal sovereignty, which is why I introduced this bill forbidding the federal government from considering marijuana production, possession, or sale as an adverse factor when disbursing federal funds."

The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) — an American Indian and Alaska Native indigenous rights organization that lobbies the federal government on behalf of natives’ rights — argues that tribes are sovereign governments with the inherent authority to set their own policies regarding marijuana use:

“Indian tribes are sovereign governments with the inherent right to set local laws addressing marijuana, including its medical and industrial uses, according to the public health and economic needs of their unique communities.”

This bill doesn’t have any cosponsors. In the 114th Congress, Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) introduced this bill with the support of four bipartisan cosponsors, including three Democrats and one Republican, but it didn’t receive a committee vote. Rep. Young was a cosponsor of Rep. Pocan’s bill in the 114th Congress.


Of NoteMany people in the tribal business community view marijuana as a potential cash crop that’d generate revenue for a population that’s generally impoverished. Duke Rodriguez, a former Secretary of Health Services in New Mexico who founded a company specializing in operating dispensaries and helping with cannabis cultivation for medical use, is convinced the legal cannabis could improve both the physical and economic health of American Indians on tribal land.

Under the Wilkinson Memorandum, a 2014 policy statement, the Dept. of Justice’s current position recommends non-enforcement of the federal prohibition of marijuana-related activities to U.S. Attorneys serving tribes that have legalized those activities under tribal law. However, NCAI contends that the application of this policy has been inconsistent due to “confusion over federal public lands vs. federal Indian lands” and lack of “adequate government-to-government consultation,” creating a lack of clear guidance for tribes and law enforcement on marijuana.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / OpenRangeStock)

AKA

Tribal Marijuana Sovereignty Act of 2019

Official Title

To protect the legal production, purchase, and possession of marijuana by Indian tribes, and for other purposes.

    Tribal Land is Sovereign. If Congress would just decriminalize and get on with it, we wouldn’t have to do all these piecemeal bills. LET IT GO. It’s over. It’s not a S1. It’s not as dangerous as Alcohol or Tobacco. It’s not a “gateway”. It’s a proxy for racism. We know the lies are lies. Just stop.
    Like (219)
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    👎🏻 DON’T LEGALIZE THE GATEWAY DRUG “MARIJUANA” 😔 Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, and the provision of funds and services by the federal government should be contingent upon tribes’ compliance with federal laws, including the federal marijuana prohibition. SneakyPete..... 👎🏻👎🏻Marijuana 👎🏻👎🏻. 5.8.19.....
    Like (19)
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    Tribes are sovereign entities and should not be punished for legalizing marijuana. Considering that several states have legalized marijuana, this has become a Tenth Amendment issue meaning that the Federal government does not have the right to negate the laws enacted in the states and state rights herein.
    Like (102)
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    JUST MAKE IT LEGAL AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL ALREADY!!!
    Like (86)
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    Native American reservations were originally considered sovereign nations with their own police and laws. This should be enough to legalize marijuana just as they make laws banning alcohol. There seems to be an effort in Washington DC to take over the sovereignity of the tribes to abuse their mineral and oil rights without resistance.
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    Marijuana should be legal all across the board. The only reason it’s illegal now is because Nixon wanted to control “the blacks and the hippies”. Even today the the number of people arrested for marijuana possession only is at 90 percent. So yes I believe in all marijuana legalization so support the tribe marijuana sovereignty act. Please also support it. Thank you.
    Like (48)
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    The tribes are sovereign nations within the US, and tribal laws should apply on the reservation. Like states, the tribal government could establish their own laws regarding marijuana, The federal government can sue the tribe for violating national laws regarding the use of marijuana, but any court ruling would likely be viewed within the context of recently changed laws in states that currently permit the heavily regulated sale of it.
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    If the government would spend more time framing the federal legalization of marijuana, then this wouldn’t be such an issue.
    Like (35)
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    Everyone should be free from federal punishment if they use weed. The feds are holding up the legal use of marijuana by not decriminalizing it. It has medical benefits as well as recreational and commercial uses.
    Like (33)
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    Stop the nonsense now
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    The tribes have their own laws and the federal government shouldn't interfere, although they always do. They've destroyed entire fields of hemp for no reason at all, other than the eliminate revenue the tribes would've made from selling the hemp. Our lawmakers need to mind their own business...
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    Just legalize it already.
    Like (24)
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    Haven’t we mistreated these people enough? Of course. They are sovereign after all.
    Like (23)
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    The US needs to legalize marijuana. Indian tribes are separate nations-they can do this if they wish to.
    Like (21)
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    Congress just needs to decriminalize Marijuana and then there won’t even be a question about it. There wouldn’t be a need for all these Crazy piecemeal bills if Congress would do it’s job. It SHOULD BE over. MARIJUANA is not a S1 type drug. It’s not as dangerous as Alcohol or Tobacco. It’s not a “gateway” drug, no matter how much the Republicans try to label it that. Keeping it illegal is just an excuse for their racism. We know their complaints are lies. Legalize Marijuana.
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    Legalize marijuana nationwide
    Like (18)
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    Republicans pick and choose what states can do and what's within the purview of the federal government. This is one where the Feds can butt out. Remember Prohibition?
    Like (18)
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    Yes. And please do not offer up the mindless, primitive excuse of “they lost”.
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    Legalize marijuana across the whole US. It’s a Medicinal plant, your pharmaceuticals are the Real Killers!!!
    Like (16)
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    Tribal nations are a nation inside of our nation, they are the true Americans and as so should be respected. We took their land and gave them tribal land. They should be able to do what they want on their land. If I’m not mistaken they have sovereignty
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