Budding Conflicts: Marijuana's Impact on Unsettled Questions of Tribal-State Relations

22 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2017 Last revised: 30 Jul 2017

Date Written: July 10, 2017


In the wake of a December 2014 decision by the Department of Justice to deprioritize enforcement of federal marijuana laws against tribes as well as states, many tribes have reevaluated their policies toward marijuana.

Tribal attitudes toward marijuana are diverse; some tribes regard marijuana as a public health menace, whereas others see it as a source of economic opportunity. Where tribal policies are significantly more or less restrictive than those of the surrounding state, tribal-state relations have often suffered friction. The problem is particularly acute given the jurisdictional uncertainty that characterizes Indian country and the absence of any equivalent to the conflict-mediating doctrines that help to smooth interstate relations. As a result, federal intervention may be needed to protect tribal sovereignty and resolve tribal state conflict; any such action should be guided by recognizing the successes and failures of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

Suggested Citation

Florey, Katherine, Budding Conflicts: Marijuana's Impact on Unsettled Questions of Tribal-State Relations (July 10, 2017). Boston College Law Review, Vol. 57, 2017; UC Davis Legal Studies Research Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3000007

Katherine Florey (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis ( email )

One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
United States

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