Seven different tribes and tribal associations have lobbied on cannabis- and hemp-related issues at the federal level in 2019. But the tribes themselves are unwilling to publicly talk about their concerns.
Cannabis Wire reached out to the tribes and tribal associations on the list but they either didn’t respond or refused to comment. In the disclosures, the tribes list as priorities “hemp issues,” “the impact of cannabis in Indian country,” “tribal hemp and CBD oil production,” “medical cannabis,” and the STATES and SAFE Banking Acts. This bill would protect state legal cannabis businesses from federal prosecution, and open access to banks and other financial services for the industry.
“We are not able to comment at this time,” Sara Thompson, deputy press secretary for the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde told Cannabis Wire.
“My clients asked me to refrain from providing comments at the time,” Josh Clause with Clause Law PLLC, which represents both the Suquamish Tribe and Muckleshoot Indian Tribe told Cannabis Wire.
Tribes, however, have previously been vocal about their challenges in the hemp industry. At a Congressional hearing in July, for example, Darrell G. Seki, Sr., chairman of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, Minnesota urged the USDA ensure that tribal groups are well-equipped to compete in the hemp industry.
“All our efforts are at the risk of being wasted, if USDA doesn’t give tribes like Red Lake a fair regulatory opportunity to compete on an equal footing with states,” Seki said at the hearing.
And, as Cannabis Wire previously reported, the STATES Act was pitched as beneficial to tribes by Senator Elizabeth Warren, though the specifics remain murky. The first tribe-run cannabis shop in the US opened in Washington state in 2015, followed slowly by others, but tribes in some states have had difficulties.
The list of tribes that are lobbying, or have lobbied at the federal level in 2019:
Confederated Tribes Of Grand Ronde
St. Croix Chippewa Indians Of Wisconsin
Little Traverse Bay Bands Of Odawa Indians