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Tribal members to mull legal status of marijuana on reservation

 


The Colville Business Council (CBC) voted 11-0 to include a referendum vote by the membership regarding the legal status of marijuana on the Colville Reservation, Tribal Chairman Jim Boyd announced Tuesday.

In addition to picking half the tribal council, the membership will be asked its opinion on the drug in the upcoming General Election, to be held on June 13.

The referendum vote will pose to the voters the question of whether the Colville Tribes should amend its laws to more closely parallel the laws of the state of Washington as implemented after passage of I-502 in 2012.

While not binding, the vote will guide the governing body of the tribes “with respect to creating parity between Tribal members on the Reservation and both Tribal and non-tribal members off Reservation” for recreational use of marijuana, a statement issued Tuesday said.

“This issue has the potential to effect our community in long-term and meaningful ways, and we (the CBC) feel that it is necessary to give the membership an opportunity to weigh in on the issue before we make any decisions either for or against,” Boyd said in the statement. “We respect and value the fact that each and every member of the community has a story to tell regarding whether or not they support marijuana, and this affords us an opportunity to at least gauge whether folks view this issue in a positive or negative light.”

Pamphlets are being developed that will offer information and opinion both in favor of and against the proposed referendum, the statement said. It will be distributed to tribal members.

“I anticipate that since the State’s passage of I-502, most Tribal members have an opinion on the issue, but we want to ensure that the membership feels informed and makes the decision that is right for them,” Boyd said.

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