OST Members Vote To Legalize Pot On Reservation, Reject Alcohol In Casinos

PINE RIDGE, S.D. (AP) – Preliminary results show members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed referendums to legalize both medical and recreational marijuana on the Pine Ridge Reservation, but decisively rejected a proposal to allow alcohol to be served at the tribe’s 2 casinos.

The medical marijuana measure passed with 82% support while the recreational pot proposal got 74%. Allowing alcohol at the Prairie Wind and East Wind Casino was opposed by about 60% of tribal members voting. The results will be certified in the next week.

The Oglala Sioux are the first tribe to approve marijuana in a state where the drug is illegal, so the next step for the marijuana measures is for the Tribal Council to enact rules and laws to regulate the drugs.

Some of the expected regulations are aimed at appeasing South Dakota officials, including a ban on people taking pot off the reservation. Tribal Attorney General Scott James says state laws apply to non-tribal members even on tribal land, but enforcement is another issue.

The state lacks jurisdiction on the reservation and James says “marijuana enforcement is not the federal government’s highest priority at this point.”

Questioned by The Associated Press before the election, the U-S attorney’s office for South Dakota declined to comment while a spokesman for South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg said only that he was watching Tuesday’s vote.

.OST President Julian Bear Runner pitched the two marijuana measures as a way to “jump-start” to the local economy that would provide jobs and bring in money to fix crumbling roads.

Bear Runner also argues that the tribe’s status as a sovereign nation gives it the right to grow and sell marijuana regardless of state law.

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