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Blackfeet Decriminalize Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana sign.
Flickr user Laurie Avocado (CC-BY-2)

The Blackfeet Nation Tribal Business Council decriminalized medical marijuana use on the reservation last week. At the same meeting, the council declared a state of emergency in response to drug and alcohol abuse on the reservation.

The Business Council, the Blackfeet Nation’s governing body, passed the medical marijuana resolution Oct. 4. It exempts prescription medical marijuana users from tribal drug laws but does not extend to manufacturers or distributors.

The resolution does not legalize recreational use or alter the Blackfeet Tribal Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual or driving under the influence laws.

The council also declared a state of emergency due to drug and alcohol abuse. The declaration comes after a local group called Silent Warriors asked the council to study, develop and administer a response to substance abuse issues.

The declaration says all tribal programs dealing with substance abuse shall meet monthly to coordinate services and must file quarterly progress reports to the Tribal Business Council. The council tasked Silent Warriors with overseeing the process to amend the Blackfeet Law and Order Code.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced in 2014 it would not prioritize enforcing marijuana laws on Native American reservations but rescinded those relaxed guidelines earlier this year.

A spokesperson for the Blackfeet Nation could not be reached for comment.

The Fort Peck Tribal Council legalized medical marijuana in 2015 but disallowed it in July over fears of losing federal funding.

Nicky is MTPR's Flathead-area reporter.
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