Blackfeet Nation Decriminalizes Medical Cannabis Amid Substance Abuse Crisis

Last week, the governing body of the Blackfeet Nation, located in northwest Montana, amended its Constitution to allow its more than 17,300 members access to legal medical cannabis. The small change addresses the nation’s law barring the sale, possession and use of dangerous drugs, creating an exemption for medical cannabis only.

Blackfeet Tribal Business Council Decriminalizes Medical Cannabis

A resolution by the Executive Committee and the Tribal Business Council of the Blackfeet Nation passed last week amends an ordinance to decriminalize the possession of medical marijuana. Tribal sovereignty gives First Nations the power to enact laws that are different from their surrounding states’. But in the US, First Nations are still subject to federal jurisdiction. And as a result, many have been reticent to legalize medical cannabis ahead of their surrounding states or even in accordance with them.

Montana, which surrounds the Blackfeet Nation, legalized medical cannabis in 2004 and overhauled its program in 2016. Yet the medical use of cannabis remained illegal on the Blackfeet Reservation. In 2014, Obama’s Justice Department signaled a shift in federal enforcement posture, adopting a hands-off policy that would let tribal governments shape their own cannabis policy. But Trump’s DOJ, headed by the anti-cannabis

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