Saginaw Chippewa tribe to decide on legalizing recreational mari - WNEM TV 5

Saginaw Chippewa tribe to decide on legalizing recreational marijuana

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MT. PLEASANT, MI (WNEM) -

A Department of Justice ruling basically leaves it up to each individual tribe. It was a decision that wasn't heavily publicized at the time.

"To each their own. If they want to smoke marijuana, let them do it," Jack Grady said.

Grady supports the right of people to use marijuana recreationally on Native American land, and that includes the Chippewa Tribe's land in parts of Isabella County. This possibility stems from relaxed guidelines by the U.S. Department of Justice released late last year.

"We're just following along with tribal law. And tribal law is different than what state law is. So sometimes it's a little bit difficult knowing which way to go," said Jeff Browne, with Mt. Pleasant Police Department.

Browne said if the laws were changed on the Chippewa reservation they would need some clarification. Specifically what they can enforce and where considering recreational pot is illegal off the reservation.

"My hope is that it's very spelled out and that everybody would follow the same thing," Browne said.

A spokesperson for the tribe said they are opposed to marijuana, including using it for medicinal purposes.

Residents said they hope the Chippewa Tribe changes their mind.

"If you're in your own home smoking marijuana, I don't have a problem with it. I don't think it should be in public, just like cigarettes," Grady said.

Tribal leaders said they will be meeting with the Department of Justice this week to discuss the issue.

Even though tribes have the right to decide what to do about legalizing marijuana, the Department of Justice said they will step in if it is sold to minors, or if it is benefiting criminal drug cartels.

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