Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe Approves Using & Selling Marijuana On Tribal Lands

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The divide on legalizing marijuana has grown, not only nationwide, but also in South Dakota.

Late last week, the Santee Sioux Tribe in Flandreau came to a decision and approved the use and sale marijuana on the reservation.

It’s a historical moment for the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe.

“We decided that with the potential of the legalization of marijuana within the state, it’s an opportunity for us to get ahead of the game a little bit and get established so we can generate some revenue and get some proper things in place,” said Tony Reider, Tribal President.

Tribal President tony Reider says the Flandreau Tribe is the first in the nation to legalize marijuana use on tribal lands in a state where the drug is illegal.

“We don’t mind being first. It’s not something we strive for,” said Reider. “We’ve done our due diligence, we’ve checked and we’ve had to have a certain comfort level before we dive into something…especially something this big, something that’s going to be under such a large microscope.”

Reider says there are a lot of advantages when it comes to legalizing marijuana on the reservation. Bringing in revenue and curbing the black market are just a few things he hopes to get out of the decision.

“It’s highly regulated and it’s tracked from seed to sale,” said Reider. “The other marijuana that’s on the black market right now, we’re not sure and I don’t think anyone knows where it’s coming from, how it’s grown, and what kind of chemicals are involved in it.”

Jim Moller, who lives near the reservation, agrees with the tribal president.

“Hopefully it’ll get a lot of the younger kids off of the harder drugs,” said Moller. “I know from time to time, they’ve been having a lot of trouble with that.”

The tribe’s decision to legalize marijuana on the reservation didn’t come as a shock to the Flandreau rancher.

“Drugs have been around since the 70’s,” said Moller. “It’s become kind of a second nature thing. And they’re not going to get rid of it.”

Moller believes with proper regulations and control, legalizing marijuana on the tribal land will be a good thing.

“I hope it turns out for them but it all depends on how they sell it, where they sell it, and how the legal system is going to crack down on it,” said Moller.

Reider says anyone, Indian or non-Indian, 21-years or older, can purchase marijuana on the reservation with an ID. But those who buy the drug must use it at a special consumption facility on the tribal lands. And he says there will be absolutely no marijuana use at the Royal River Casino.

The tribe has started growing marijuana on the reservation at a special facility. Reider hopes the product will be available by late fall.

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