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Menominee Tribe Begins Vote On Marijuana Legalization

State And Federal Law Enforcement Officials Pledge Vigilance

Mark (CC-BY)

Eligible members of the Menominee Tribe are voting Wednesday and Thursday on legalizing medicinal and recreational marijuana.

The Menominee are in a unique position to grow and sell pot compared to other Wisconsin tribes because of a special federal status. A federal statute known as Public Law 280 gives states jurisdiction on Indian reservations. The Menominee are the only Wisconsin tribe exempt from that law.

According to state Attorney General Brad Schimel, Wisconsin has no jurisdiction on the reservation in Keshena, just north of Shawano. Still, he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that if the tribe pursues marijuana production, he would not “sit back.”

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James Santelle, a U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Wisconsin said the federal government will also be watching.

“Because this is a non-PL 280 tribe, we’re very much partnered with the FBI in terms of enforcement of all kinds of federal laws on the reservation,” Santelle said.

Federal laws include prohibitions on sales to minors and growing marijuana on public lands.