Native Tribal Lands And Medical Marijuana

When it comes to native tribal lands and medical marijuana the answer is not always clear nor straight forward, just as any medical marijuana laws have come to be seen. Michigan has had confusion and issues with its medical marijuana laws, and when we begin to analyze native tribal lands and medical marijuana, it becomes even more confusing. First, native tribal lands are typically controlled by local tribal or federal laws. Second, many of these laws will only apply to registered tribal members. Third, local tribal laws are limited in jurisdiction, meaning any criminal law enforced by a tribe are limited on its punishment and oversight to charge the specific crime.

So, when a crime is beyond or outside the scope of the specific tribal law, multiple things could occur to the individual in a criminal setting. This could and would consist of federal or state criminal charges. Again, this applies generally to tribal members when acting on tribal land, as opposed to non-tribal members who are specifically and strictly limited to state prosecution. What does this mean for tribal members on native tribal lands and medical marijuana is inevitably involved?

To begin, if the local tribe does not have a medical marijuana ordinance or law applying to tribal members then State law generally does not apply to such individual tribal members on tribal land. Stated in another way, tribal members on tribal land generally cannot afford themselves of the State medical marijuana laws since they are under the purview and jurisdiction of local tribal and Federal laws. Yes, that is CORRECT. Tribal members on native tribal lands and medical marijuana also involved will not have State law protection, such as the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA). Whenever you are wanting or attempting to protect yourself under the MMMA or any other medical marijuana law, tribal or not, you should contact legal counsel in order to ensure you are protected. In fact, something that has not yet been discussed is the concept of non-tribal members being on tribal land and having medical marijuana. This too is an interesting issue because since tribal land is Federal land, the individual has the potential to increase his or her risk of Federal prosecution. With that said, all activity dealing with marijuana (medical or otherwise) is prima facie illegal in the eyes of the Federal government. This does not negate the interplay between native tribal lands and medical marijuana, especially when there are no tribal laws guiding tribal law enforcement and actions found to have occurred on tribal land.

In the end, tribal members while on tribal land are not afforded the exact same rights and oversight as compared to when acting outside of the tribal land borders. The reasoning for this comes down to jurisdictional oversight and enforcement, and thus tribal members must follow other laws while on their native lands. This too applies to non-tribal members found to be within the tribal land boundaries. And thus inevitably, there is a huge issue and concern when speaking about native tribal lands and medical marijuana use, possession, cultivate or manufacturing by individuals found on the lands. As sated above, this interplay and complexity also applies and involves non-tribal members and native tribal lands and medical marijuana due to the land technically being Federal land.

You should never rely on this article or any other statement, opinion or writing on this website or any other website when seeking, wanting or attempting to represent yourself before any legal, administrative, official or otherwise on any legal matter without the adequate assistance of legal representation. The MMMA laws are dangerously confusing in many instances and respects. Native tribal lands and medical marijuana add another layer of confusion and explanation when discussing native tribal lands and medical marihuana on those lands while involving tribal members. This is especially true when the individuals influenced are tribal members, which adhere to a different set of rules, regulations and laws that are not always inline with the State laws. With that said, make sure you figure out what can and cannot be done on your land if you are a tribal member here in the State of Michigan or any other medical marijuana friendly area.

About Josh Jones

Josh Jones is an experienced and professional Michigan Criminal Defense attorney presenting Metro Detroit, Genesee County, Livingston County, Lapeer County, and others throughout the State of Michigan. He is available 7-days a week and handles all felonies, misdemeanors, probation violations, traffic tickets, and drivers license restoration. Josh is only a phone call away and is here to help when you are involved with the criminal justice system.