Members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe will vote this week on legalizing medical and recreational marijuana on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation in an initiative that many hope will bring economic development to one of the most impoverished areas in the country.
Neither South Dakota nor nearby Wyoming and Nebraska have legalized marijuana, and tribal leaders think pot could rake in millions of dollars. If the measure is approved, the Oglala Sioux Tribe would become the only Native American tribe to set up a cannabis market in a state where it’s otherwise illegal.
“People will be coming in from all directions to get their medicine,” said Ricky Gray Grass, a tribal leader.
After witnessing the growth of the pot industry and the success of the Paiute Indian Tribe selling marijuana near the Las Vegas Strip, tribes across the nation – from the Red Lake Band of Chippewa in Minnesota to the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma – are considering the economic and medical potential of marijuana. But they also face uncertain policy on marijuana enforcement under President Donald Trump’s administration.