But the latest tribe to debate joining the Green Rush isn’t in California or Colorado: it’s the Red Lake band of Chippewa in northern Minnesota. Last week, the tribal council voted in favor of developing “a feasibility study on the industry.”
Last May, Minnesota became America’s 22nd legal medical marijuana state. Thus far, however, the state has only handed out two grow licenses.
Therefore, should this band of Chippewas like what its feasibility study shows, the tribe would become Minnesota’s third legal cultivator of cannabis. And based on what tribe member and marijuana advocate David Manuel has to say, the Red Lake band sounds extremely open to the thought:
“It’s about sovereignty, it’s about being who we are and being in charge of our own destiny,” Manuel said. “We are Anishinaabe, we have a unique world view,” Manuel said. “Personally, I’m asked to go gather medicines for my elders, and whoever is sick, out in the woods. These plants are medicine, and to not make these things available is criminal.” [MPR News]
Moreover, the tribe owns Minnesota’s only enclosed reservation which consists of 1,200 square miles of land. Theoretically, the tribe could grow enough marijuana to supply the entire midwest on that amount of land.While Manuel and the tribe certainly have financial motivation, the tribe’s moral compass appears aligned with the legalization ethos: free up the herb. For groups of people who have traditionally shunned modern medicine and battled alcoholism, tribes going green feels like a beneficial step in the right direction.
We will keep you posted when the tribe makes a decision.