Feds Shutdown Cannabis Festival on Tribal Land
Source: Indian Country Media Network
On February 16th, U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden sent a letter to the Moapa Paiute Tribe, who would host the event, warning them that their planned event would violate federal law if they allowed attendees to bring marijuana to the event, which defeats the purpose of holding the event in the first place. The event in question, the High Times Cannabis Cup, has been hosted in other states that legalized recreational use of marijuana in the past few years, such as Colorado and Washington, without much fuss from the leviathan. Since Nevada, which is where the Moapa Paiute tribe’s land is located, recently legalized the recreational use of marijuana in November of last year, the tribal council probably figured that they could host the event without much trouble as it had been hosted in other states that legalized the recreational use of marijuana in the past few years. The problem here is that Indian tribes lack the sovereignty to determine their own drug laws since 1) they are still dependent on federal spending for revenue and 2) they are under the plenary power of congress, which means the CSA still applies to tribal land. Ultimately, no government should have the power to regulate what individuals can put in their own bodies, but taking that power away from the federal government and handing it over to state and tribal governments is a step in the right direction. Thus far, eight states have taken that step by legalizing the recreational use of marijuana while twenty-eight states have flirted with the idea by legalizing medicinal marijuana. The High Times Cannabis Cup was still held, though in name only. It was eventually demoted to a music festival with arts and crafts on the side.