It’s unclear what effect a new U.S. Justice Department policy regarding marijuana and Indian tribes will have in Florida.
The government announced this week that Indian tribes, which are considered sovereign nations, can grow and sell marijuana on their lands so long as they follow the same federal conditions laid out for states that have legalized the drug.
Florida has two federally recognized tribes, the Miccosukee and Seminole tribes.
The Justice Department’s announcement was “not on the Seminole Tribe’s radar,” tribe spokesman Gary Bitner told The Miami Herald.
A Miccosukee Tribe spokesman said the policy is being reviewed, but he declined further comment.
A spokesman for Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said she’s also reviewing the announcement.
The Miccosukee Tribe has three reservation areas in South Florida. The Seminole Tribe of Florida has six reservations that total more than 90,000 acres.
Some advocates said the Justice Department’s announcement could give rise to a rich new business on reservations, not unlike the advent of casino gambling. However, many tribes oppose legalization, and only a handful have expressed any interest in the marijuana business.
Oregon U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall said the policy addresses questions raised by tribes about how legalization of pot in states like Oregon, Washington and Colorado would apply to Indian lands.
The tribal policy is based on an August 2013 Justice Department announcement that the federal government wouldn’t intervene as long as pot legalization states tightly regulate the drug, keep it from children and criminal cartels and prevent sales to states that outlaw it, among other measures.
Republished with permission of the Associated Press.