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Menominee Tribe To Hold Advisory Marijuana Referendum This Week

Tribe Is Exploring Legalization Following Failure Of Casino Project

Brett Levin (CC-BY)

Members of the Menominee Tribe of Indians will vote in an advisory referendum this Wednesday and Thursday regarding the growth and sale of marijuana.

The Menominee broached the question of pot growing after its quest to build an off-reservation casino was shot down. Now, voters will weigh in on whether to legalize marijuana both medicinally and — to a certain extent — recreationally.

A 2013 Justice Department memo granted tribes the right to grow and sell marijuana on reservations. The “Cole Memorandum” has eight restrictions, including the restriction of sales to minors, the prevention of drugged driving, and not growing plants on federal property.

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James Santelle, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, said any state or tribe must have a handle on marijuana, from “seed to sale.”

“That is the oversight by leadership, whether it’s state or tribal, to ensure that the governing authority knows what is being planted, where it is, how it’s being packaged, who it’s being sold to, where it’s going,” said Santelle.

Other Wisconsin tribes — including Red Cliff, Bad River, and Mole Lake — are also considering pot legalization on some level.