Elizabeth Warren Wants to Protect Native American Cannabis Operations

On Aug. 16, Sen. Elizabeth Warren outlined her plan to protect cannabis laws on tribal lands from the federal government. Warren’s blog post on Medium explained that protecting cannabis operations on sovereign lands is part of the federal government’s obligation to Native American tribes.

The United States Commission on Civil Rights released a report in 2013 that details the glaring failure of the federal government to fulfill its list of promises to the Native American people. Tribal sovereignty is the inherent freedom of tribes to govern themselves, according to numerous broken treaties. One of the ways Tribal Nations have been wronged, Warren wrote, is the lack of freedom to enforce their own cannabis laws on tribal lands.

Warren explained that the government must do more to remove barriers that prevent Native Americans from succeeding economically. “For example, while not every tribe is interested in the economic opportunities associated with changing laws around marijuana, a number of Tribal Nations view cannabis as an important opportunity for economic development,” Warren wrote. “I support full marijuana legalization, and have also introduced and worked on a bipartisan basis to advance the STATES Act, a proposal that would at a minimum safeguard the ability of states, territories, and Tribal Nations, to make their own marijuana policies.”

Warren was heavily criticized last year for claiming Native American heritage, including getting frequently called “Pocahontas” from President Donald Trump. In October of 2018, Warren released DNA results to The Boston Globe, and the report revealed that Warren possesses a small but detectable amount of Native American DNA, according to FactCheck.org.

Warren will soon introduce a bill called the “Honoring Promises to Native Nations Act” with an endorsement from Rep. Deb Haaland, who is co-chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus. That bill would honor various broken promises to Native American people. Lawmakers are accepting written input on the drafting of the new bill until Sept. 30. While the law doesn’t address cannabis laws, Warren endorsed the STATES Act proposal, which would do just that.

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