TAHLEQUAH – On March 7, Oklahomans go to the polls to vote on a single ballot issue, State Question 820, which would legalize recreational use of marijuana in the state.
The question contains no language concerning application or enforcement on Native lands or reservations, because the question would not be applied to Native governments.
The Cherokee Nation, and other Oklahoma tribal nations, use federal guidelines when enforcing drug laws. But in recent years, several of Oklahoma’s Native nations, including the Cherokee Nation, have relaxed some aspects of enforcement – particularly as they pertain to usage – since Oklahoma voters approved medicinal cannabis in 2018 with passage of SQ 788.
In January 2020, the CN altered its Human Resources policy concerning marijuana. Under the current guideline, those holding medical marijuana licenses can obtain and retain employment with the CN should any drug screenings test positive for cannabis. However, per federal law, it remains illegal to use or possess cannabis on any tribally-owned property.
“In 2020, Chief Hoskin proposed and the Council of the Cherokee Nation approved reform to the tribe’s criminal code as it relates to marijuana, including removing marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III and easing the law on possession and distribution,” CN Attorney General Sara Hill said….
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