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Medical Marijuana Illegal For Indians On Flathead Reservation

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
Medical marijuana providers on the Flathead Indian Reservation who sell to Indians can be charged with felony distribution of the drug, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes announced Wednesday.

CSKT spokesman Rob McDonald said that, after consulting with elders from the Salish, Kootenai and Pend d'Oreille peoples, the Tribal Council opted to retain their policy that makes the possession or sale of marijuana a criminal offense.

"The result was a consensus from the elders that marijuana has no cultural significance," McDonald said, "and that we, as a people, have other indigenous means to deal with pain."

As a sovereign Indian nation, the tribes have the option of adopting or not adopting state laws, and so while the state has legalized medical marijuana, the tribes have not.

That could potentially affect nontribal members should they provide marijuana to tribal members or federally recognized Indians, CSKT officials have been informed. The tribes said Lake County Attorney Mitch Young told them it means if a provider on the reservation supplies medical marijuana to a tribal member that person will be subject to felony distribution charges.

The announcement does not affect nontribal medical marijuana consumers on the reservation, or medical marijuana providers located off the reservation. The tribes have jurisdiction over tribal members and recognized Indians from other reservations located within the boundaries of the Flathead Reservation.

So, while it remains a criminal offense for any tribal member to possess marijuana on the reservation, it also becomes a criminal offense for anyone to sell it to them there, according to Young. The county attorney cautions providers located on the reservation to ask about tribal affiliation before supplying anyone with medical marijuana.

"Like other area governments, CSKT officials have wrestled with the complex issue," McDonald explained in a written release.

"After much discussion, CSKT does not embrace a system where medical marijuana can be provided by non-medical staffs who have obtained a provider license."

The release went on to say local law enforcement has come across too many instances where medical marijuana consumers are either convicted felons, or under investigation for drug use and sales.

Other medical marijuana consumers, it added, have been found to have convictions for the manufacture of methamphetamines, prescription drug violations and drug distribution convictions in other states.

NewsHawk: Jim Behr: 420 MAGAZINE
Source: Missoulian (MT)
Copyright: 2011 Missoulian
Contact: oped@missoulian.com
Website: Missoulian
Details: MAP: Media Directory
Author: Vince Devlin
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