Effort to Protect Tribes Affected by Federal Cannabis Laws Advances in Interior Appropriations Bill
By Native News Online Staff
Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH) announced that the legislation to fund the Department of the Interior, Environment, and related agencies for Fiscal Year 2023 includes critical language to protect the rights of tribes that have authorized the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of cannabis.
“Enforcing Federal cannabis laws on Tribal land, especially in cases where the Tribe and the State have legalized cannabis use, is wrong and it needs to stop,” Joyce, the Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, said. “These misguided enforcement actions have sent a chill through Indian Country – Tribes are unsure if the federal government will continue to enforce and prioritize federal marijuana laws only on reservations. That’s why I worked closely with the Chair to include this important language to prevent Interior and Justice entities from enforcing federal marijuana laws inconsistent with tribal laws. Tribes are sovereign nations, and they have just as much of a right to enact and enforce their own laws as States do.”
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“Leadership in defense of the Indigenous people of this land is so vitally important. This is now our story. This is our historical journey. This is about helping to heal our people. This is about tribal sovereignty. This is about economic opportunity. We will not be bystanders once again with our noses pressed against the window as the rest of America enjoys this plant medicine's healing qualities. We will not allow others with misplaced priorities or a misplaced agenda to destroy our dreams,” said TomRodgers (Blackfeet), president of the Global Indigenous Council. “Congressman Joyce has always listened to our stories and thus our words of pain and loss. He has always had the vision to act on those words. While words might be beautiful, we know as Indigenous people that action is supreme. He has become a moral partner in this historical journey.”
Read the full bill text, located in Section 130 on pages 80 and 81, here. In April, Joyce highlighted this issue with Interior Secretary Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) when she testified before the subcommittee to discuss the Department of Interior’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget request. You can listen to their discussion on the matter here.
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