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Aug 22, 2015

Menominee-Chair-Gary-Besaw

BY NEWSMEDIAON AUGUST 22, 2015  dispatchtimes

Tribal members over 18 were voting earlier this week on a pair of questions: Whether to OK marijuana for medicinal use, and whether to do so for recreational use by people 21 and older. Tribal Chair Gary Besaw said the turnout – about 17 percent – was higher than for tribal elections. He didn’t have a timetable for how quickly that might happen.

The tribe conducted a referendum vote Wednesday and Thursday, and the results were announced Friday.

“We have to be very, very cautious how we move forward”, Besasw said. Still, Besaw said, it could be worthwhile to begin growing and selling weed. “It’s hard to get definitive answers”.

Now that Menominee tribal members have told its legislators to legalize marijuana, their lawmakers will begin the hard task of designing a profitable weed operation that does not result in the tribe or its customers getting busted. In Wisconsin, Gregory Haanstad, the new acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District, has only said that marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Besaw noted the easier vote on medicinal marijuana. “Even those who voted no on the recreational have said… we know there is value in medicinal marijuana and there clearly are individuals who benefit from it”.

After Governor Walker rejected a proposal for the tribe to build a casino in Kenosha, some tribe members say marijuana is a way for the tribe to make some extra money.

The Menominee is the only Wisconsin tribe exclusively responsible for enforcing its own laws.

FOX 6 reports about 13 percent of Menominee Tribe members voted this week.

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