Suquamish officials: DOJ rescinded policy without consulting with Tribes

Forsman says State-Tribal compacts were carefully crafted in accordance with federal guidance

SUQUAMISH – The Suquamish Tribe issued the following on Jan. 4 regarding the Trump administration’s change in federal policy regarding retail cannabis.

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The Suquamish Tribe has enjoyed a productive working relationship with the State of Washington and the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) in our efforts to address the unique challenges faced by Indian Tribes in states that have legalized marijuana for medical, recreational or agricultural uses.

After Washington State legalized recreational marijuana, the Suquamish Tribe was forced to address the issue of marijuana regulation in its Indian Country. The Tribal-State system we use today was developed over years of cooperative government-to-government work with DOJ, state initiative and legislation, carefully negotiated State-Tribal Compacts and six DOJ guidance memoranda. Despite the existence of this effective and well-regulated system, DOJ today elected to rescind all six guidance memoranda without consultation.

“State and Tribal laws were created and crafted in response to the challenges marijuana presented to our communities,” Suquamish Tribal Chairman Leonard Forsman. “We agree with Governor Inslee that the Washington State system addresses these problems in a manner that is well regulated, keeps out criminals, protects it from falling into the hands of children, cracks down on driving under the influence, and carefully tracks production to prevent cross-border transfer. The Suquamish Tribe will continue to work closely with Washington State to best protect our people far into the future.”

Suquamish Tribal Treasurer Robin Sigo added, “This is not only about the marijuana industry, it is about sovereignty, voters rights and access to safe marijuana that since becoming legal has resulted in the creation of good paying jobs and much-needed Tribal tax revenue that allows us to buy our lands back and invest in community development.”

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The Suquamish Tribe is a signatory to the Treaty of Point Elliott of 1855 and has a government-to-government relationship with the United States. It is one of the largest employers in Kitsap County. Its ventures and subsidiaries include Clearwater Casino Resort, White Horse Golf Club, Kiana Lodge, PME Retail, Property Management, Port Madison Enterprises Construction Corporation, and Agate Dreams.

Suquamish is one of 11 Tribal Nations to have a cannabis compact in place or under negotiation with the State of Washington: Colville, Muckleshoot, Port Gamble S’Klallam, Puyallup, Quinault, Samish, Spokane, Squaxin Island, Stillaguamish, Suquamish, and Tulalip.

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