Cannabis Remains Illegal On Oklahoma Cherokee Nation Land

By Benjie Cooper

IG: @nuglifenews

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On June 26, voters approved Question 788, making Oklahoma the 30th state to legalize cannabis for medicinal purposes. A ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana was being circulated by Green The Vote (GTV) who announced in late July that they had exceeded their signature goal and qualified for a vote in November.

However, it came to light only days later that the signature numbers had been greatly exaggerated, and they were nowhere near their goal. GTV ended up failing to collect enough signatures before the deadline and did not qualify for the November ballot.

But even as medicinal cannabis is now legal in Oklahoma, it’s not allowed everywhere in the state. Namely, Cherokee Nation land.

“State law legalization of medical marijuana has no effect on the Cherokee Nation as state law does not apply to Cherokee Nation,” Deputy Attorney General Chrissi Nimmo told the Cherokee Phoenix. “The possession and distribution of marijuana remains illegal under tribal and federal law.”

According to Nimmo, because the tribe receives funds from numerous federal sources, they must abide by applicable federal laws and regulations as they relate to funding. Tribe members caught with cannabis are prosecuted under Cherokee Nation laws, but non-natives are subject to federal laws and penalties.

“Cherokee Nation does not have criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians within the Cherokee Nation—with the exception of the Violence Against Women Act,” said Nimmo. “So the possession of marijuana in Cherokee Nation by non-Indians is a federal crime.”

The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority has received more than 4,000 patient, caregiver, dispensary, grower, and processor applications since they began accepting applications through their website in late August.