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OST Members To Vote In March On Legalizing Pot, Allowing Booze At Casinos

PINE RIDGE, S.D. (AP) – Members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe will vote in March on whether marijuana should be legalized on the Pine Ridge Reservation and whether alcohol should be served in its casinos.

Voters will answer three separate questions on March 10. Should medical marijuana be available on the reservation; Should recreational marijuana be allowed; and should alcohol be sold and consumed at the Prairie Wind Casino near Oglala and the East Wind Casino near Martin?

Elections Commission vice chair Sandra Old Horse says each referendums requires a simple majority of votes to pass and the decisions would be binding, meaning the tribal council must implement them.

Eligible voters are all enrolled members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe who are at least 18 years old and have lived on the reservation for at least one year. Voting will take place at 20 sites on the reservation, and people must vote at a site within their district.

Those who feel they were wrongly excluded from the voting list can challenge, but must bring documentation to their CAP office to prove eligibility to vote. Absentee ballots may be requested from the OST elections office for college students and those serving in the military.

The Pine Ridge Reservation is the only dry reservation in South Dakota and one of the few in the country. Alcohol was legal for a short time in the 1970s and tribal members voted in 2013 to legalize it again, but the referendum was never implemented.

After 3 years of discussion and legal maneuvering , tribal attorneys concluded the referendum’s language didn’t officially legalize alcohol, making it a recommendation to the tribal council – which cancelled a planned second referendum a day before it was scheduled to take place.