President Donald J. Trump is promising that, upon being reelected, he will issue an Executive Order that prohibits federal police agencies — including the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms (ATF), and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) — from enforcing marijuana prohibitions on Indian Reservations.
The Executive Order will defer to marijuana regulations adopted by Tribal governments, just as federal police agencies currently defer to State regulatory frameworks.
“It’s an asinine waste of resources to be sending FBI agents to remote self-governing Indian reservations to go around arresting teenagers for smoking marijuana — especially at a time when the States are regulating the crop for economic development purposes,” one White House staffer told The Chronicle earlier this week.
“Tribal governments have the same economic development prerogative, if they chose to pursue it, and the federal government shouldn’t be standing in their way,” the staffer adds. “After all, marijuana is a plant indigenous to North American and Native Americans have been using it for centuries.”
“Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin were smoking hemp when they wrote the Articles of Confederation and the United States Constitution, which they were introduced to by Canassatego, an Iroquois chief with whom Franklin passed the peace pipe in 1744,” he notes.
“It’s no small coincidence that the Iroquois invented egalitarian, constitutional democracy nearly a century before the Magna Carta,” he adds.
Administration officials hope that the Executive Order will be ready for President Trump’s signature by early January, ahead of his second inauguration.
The development is expected to become an economic windfall for Tribes across the United States, including here in New York where the black market for adult use cannabis is a $4 billion annual industry.
Marijuana is currently legal for adults in eleven States and medical marijuana is legal in thirty-three States. Four more states are voting on legalization this coming election day. It remains illegal under federal statute.