Not All Tribal Leaders Are "Alarmed" by the Idea of Pot on Native Lands


While I agree that the Times tends to do biased stories on the subject, the type of grow operation they detail is the kind that any tribal leader would condemn. It destroys the land. I'm not an expert on native cultures, but "destroying the land" just might be #1 on their list of crimes.

If tribes were to get involved in an organized fashion, they certainly wouldn't do it by carving up and polluting pristine forests. Galanda is talking about the legal & economic aspects, not the environmental.
Where I grew up there were some people illicitly growing pot. When it was discovered due to one party of a local feud tipping off the DEA, there was a bust and false arrest and subterfuge and community discord, etc.

So this sentence: "You wouldn't know it from the Times story, but not all tribal members are "alarmed" about the possibility of growing pot on reservation land." misses the mark. If some members didn't know what was going on, that (depending on the size of land involved, and how close knit the community is) can be a big problem.

If it's legalized, fine. If it's illegal but community as a whole knows what's going on, fine. But not when the growers have to defend the property and information about the property. Not when it gives the DEA an excuse to carry out busts. Not when the community doesn't know where it's unsafe to let kids go, or when they'll be harassed or searched in conjunction with an investigation.
The funniest thing about the article was all the graphs showing that pot growing in every Washington county and every reservation has declined precipitously in the past couple of years. The peak was in 2008.
@8 - The Seattle Times - Retroactive Panic 4 U!
@8? Try @3. Jesus, I wish Slog comments could be edited...
So because Gabe Galanda wrote on the issue of pot and Gabe is American Indian, Brendan Kiley assumes then that there is likely "buy in" from tribes for the presence of armed pot growers on their reservations. Because you know, Indians are all of one mind. We all think the same way. Agree on everything that each other says and never have differences of opinion or viewpoint.

I'm sure that Yakama tribal members, going up into areas on Mt. Adams on their own lands, thrill at the possibility of happening upon some Mexican thug squatting on their land with weapons for a chance to profit off the weed.

Just for the record. in comment #2 I did not mean to imply I'm a member of a tribe. But I grew up in a rural area with a sense of community, and I assume the same issues that applied to us would apply to others.
@ 5. No, I didn't assume "likely 'buy in'" from tribes. What I wrote was:

"... some native leaders are cautiously exploring the idea of adding marijuana cultivation to tribal portfolios."

"Some native leaders are cautiously exploring the idea" is way, way different from "Indians are all of one mind."
Is a Native American with a law degree automatically considered a native leader?
Tribes may be sovereign nations, but they are still subject to FEDERAL laws, and marijuana is still against federal law. They police themselves, make their own laws, on their own land, on the smaller things. But when it comes to federal crimes, the federal government of the US steps in. They're treading into very sticky (sweet and stanky-dank) territory. I'd like to see it legalized, though. But unless they enter into an agreement with the feds (like they do with other things under federal jurisdiction---fireworks, cigarettes, gambling, etc), they're running a high risk of the feds coming down on them.
@ 9. No. He just articulated a position that some leaders are considering.

@ 10. True. But some recent court decisions regarding tobacco and commerce on sovereign lands, plus the general pattern of federal raids on pot farms (as opposed to local law-enforcement behavior), leads some tribal-law folks to believe that there's enough legal grey area to allow it to work.

It's all iffy. But there's possibility. Mostly, I'm objecting to the article's characterization of "tribes" as being universally "alarmed" by the idea of pot farms on reservation land. That's just not the case—there's a vast spectrum of opinion and debate on the matter.
@8 by some you mean 1 and by tribal leader you mean community member. A tribal leader is someone who is on council or officially represents the community by a vote. We had this problem a while back with people confusing community members with leaders and we ended up with some bad treaties as a result. maybe we still need to work on clarifying this issue.