Consultant Found Not Guilty In Marijuana Trial

Eric Hagen acquitted of charges Thursday afternoon

FLANDREAU, S.D. (AP) – A South Dakota jury has cleared a consultant of drug charges after he helped an American Indian tribe develop a marijuana resort on tribal land.

Eric Hagen, a consultant who worked with the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, was found not guilty in state court of conspiracy to possess, possession by aiding and abetting and attempted possession of marijuana.

Hagen says the state overstepped its authority in bringing the case. He says he “never once thought that I was guilty.”

The tribe began a marijuana growing operation in 2015 after the Justice Department outlined a policy allowing Indian tribes to grow and sell marijuana under the same conditions as states that had legalized pot such as Colorado.

But the government also reserved the right to enforce federal law that still says marijuana is illegal, and when federal officials signaled a potential raid, the tribe burned its crop.

Hagen was indicted on state marijuana charges.

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