Home Culture Native American Tribes in Nevada Want to Get In On Legal Marijuana

Native American Tribes in Nevada Want to Get In On Legal Marijuana


Nevada State Senator Tick Segerblom has introduced SB 375, a bill that would authorize “agreements between the Governor and Indian tribes in this State relating to the regulation of the use of marijuana.”

And a lot of tribal leaders are showing interest, many making the trip to the state legislature last week to make their voices heard. “The tribes would oversee what is happening on their reservation, but when they participate in the system they would have to follow the state rules,” Segerblom said.

Like most Native American reservations around the U.S., those in Nevada suffer from chronic poverty and unemployment. Many tribal leaders see legal cannabis as a great opportunity to create jobs.

Since a 2014 Department of Justice announcement that seemed to allow tribes leeway in legalizing and regulating marijuana, attempts to do just that have not gone well. But for many tribes, there is no other option. They need marijuana legalization to work on their lands.

“We lack a tribal court system, we lack a police department, we lack health services – this may help create those services,” said David Decker, Chairman of the Elko Band Council for the Te-Moak Tribe of the Western Shoshone, when he testified before the State Senate Judiciary Committee. “Just to pay for dispatch, this is very expensive. This could help us pay for all those economic securities that we currently can’t provide.”

In light of the history between authorities in the U.S. and Native American tribes, it seems like a small concession to allow tribes to grow and sell marijuana and generate some economic activity on their lands…those that remain, at least. Given the uncertainty surrounding the marijuana industry, tribes are taking quite a risk to go on this path. Hopefully politicians in Nevada will give them the tools they need to get an industry off the ground.

“They are sticking their necks out on this one, but at some point you have to say, ‘We can’t sit around and twiddle our thumbs,'” Sen. Segerblom said. “I think the tribes – because they’re sovereign nations – they will have a better leg to stand on [if they are challenged by the feds].”

In the end, of course, marijuana should be legal on all lands. And if adult use marijuana is legal in Nevada – which it is – there is no reason to keep Native American tribes from participating and benefitting from that fact.


  1. This article is an astonishing piece of a deplorable lack of journalist curiosity regarding U.S./State citizens with “Indian ancestry/race” since The Indian Citizenship Act of 1924! That single Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, made moot all previous common law-state and federal-including Presidential Executive Orders, Commerce Clause and Treaty Clause alleged Indian Treaties (if any U.S. Senate confirmed Indian treaties actually existed pre-1924 Citizenship) regarding U.S./State citizens with “Indian ancestry/race” so often touted by politicians and Indian advocates as being legitimate law. It never ceases to amaze me that not one Article III judge adheres to their oath of office to support and defend the Constitution from fraud upon the Court petitions to adjudicate alleged common law-state and federal-that does not exist!

    And yet, politicians and MSM continue to perpetuate willful blindness to the Constitutional absurdity that Congress, Presidents/Governors, Initiatives and Referendums can make distinguishable the capacities, metes and boundaries of a select group of U.S./State citizens with “Indian ancestry/race” post citizenship.

    The United States Constitution makes for no provisions for:

    1. Indian sovereign nations. None of the asserted tribes possess any of the attributes of being a ‘sovereign nation:’ a. No Constitution recognition b. No international recognition c. No fixed borders d. No military e. No currency f. No postal system g. No passports

    2. Treaties with its own constituency

    3. Indian reservations whereby a select group of U.S./State citizens with “Indian ancestry/race”
    reside exclusively and to the exclusion of all others, on land-with rare exception-that is owned by the People of the United States according to federal documents readily available on-line that notes rights of renters as ‘occupancy and use’ by these distinguished U.S./State citizens with “Indian ancestry/race” only with the land owned by the People of the United States.

    4. Recognition of ‘Indian citizenship’ asserted by various tribes. There is no international recognition of “Indian citizenship” as there is no ‘nation’ from which citizenship is derived.

    A simple question for politicians and MSM to answer…a question so simple, it is hard:

    “Where is the proclamation ratified by 1/3rd of the voters of the United States that amends the Constitution to make the health, welfare, safety and benefits of a select group of U.S./State citizens distinguishable because of their “Indian ancestry/race?”

  2. Isn’t it interesting how a plant that Native Americans were the original producers of in history, may now again be allowed to produce it on their own lands. Lets hope the White guys don’t just USE the Indians to avoid US laws and rape the profits from the Tribes.

    • As of the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, there are no more “Indians” within the original meaning of the Constitution…only U.S./State citizens with “Indian ancestry/race” entitled to no more and no less than every other non-Indian U.S./State citizen.

      • This is just nonsense. The full text is on Wikipedia, it’s one sentence long, and makes no attempt to invalidate any treaty. On the contrary, it explicitly RESERVES those rights, to wit: “the granting of such citizenship shall not in any manner impair or otherwise affect the right of any Indian to tribal or other property.”

        I know what you are asserting here: you’re trying to claim that indian reservations do not exist as sovereign nations with a right to self-governance just because U.S. citizenship was extended to native americans. In actual fact they DO exist, even if tribes have no power to punish unlawful incursions by state and federal agents. They are occupied territories which can exercise whatever privilege they are allowed by the occupier… (at least until they have membership in the U.N.)

        The Citizenship Act merely extends the due process rights in the constitution to natural-born native americans – it does not purport to take rights away. There is a small but important distinction here: state and federal statutes generally would not apply on sovereign tribal lands, so any attempt to enforce them there might constitute an act of war. (There is no general purpose police jurisdiction in the federal constitution, what power exists there is military.)

        Of course, that does not mean the state or federal government will obey the terms of any treaty, so there may be no PRACTICAL difference. However, it could make SOME difference to a court which respects the law and the original treaties – particularly with respect to the cultivation of herbs:

        Generally speaking, the state and federal government should have no lawful jurisdiction over the cultivation of plants on tribal lands. That does not mean the occupiers won’t “declare war” and usurp jurisdiction, of course. But you will not convince us those rights don’t exist when equal rights for ALL men are incorporated by reference in the Declaration of Independence.

        • The United States Constitution does not support your post. The Citizenship Act of 1924 addresses property such as buildings and enterprise, not the land. The land is owned by the People of the United States according to federal documents readily available on-line with rare exception. The Constitution makes for no provisions for ‘sovereign Indian nations’ or treaties with constituency. You have provided no amendments to the Constitution to make your post true.