Menominee Members Say Yes To Marijuana In Tribal Referendum

Both Medical And Recreational Use Pass By Wide Margins

Frank (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Members of the Menominee Indian Tribe have voted in favor of legalizing both recreational and medicinal use of marijuana.

The results of the referendum, announced Friday, are “advisory,” with the final decision left to the tribal council.

Nearly 58 percent of voters approved the use of recreational pot among adults over the age of 21, while more than three-quarters said yes to medicinal use.

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Tribal Chair Gary Besaw said about 1,100 of the tribe’s 7,000 eligible voters turned out. He said that’s a higher turnout than normal.

“We’ve gotten those marching orders from the tribe that, at least, we continue that research at a higher level now in the development of draft tribal (marijuana) ordinance,” Besaw said.

However, he said there’s no timeline on that draft.

The Menominee are Wisconsin’s only tribe that is exempt from a law that gives states criminal jurisdiction on reservations, but it is still subject to federal law. Last year the U.S. Department of Justice Department issued an order — the Cole Memorandum — that gives tribes guidance on controlling marijuana growing and use.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story featuring Associated Press content has been updated with reporting by Wisconsin Public Radio.