Salter: Is Native American marijuana new tribal gaming?

In California, a $10 million medical marijuana operation is being built on the tribal lands of the Pomo Nation. Now back to Mississippi. There is an active voter initiative drive underway in Mississippi to legalize marijuana in the form of Initiative 48.

The political viability of the pro-marijuana initiative is sketchy at best here in Mississippi – the veritable gold buckle of the Bible Belt. Should the petition drive succeed and the referendum actually be placed on the ballot, Mississippians would witness essentially the world’s largest local option election with the state’s churches on one side and the would-be pot sellers and consumers on the other.

But the little known Justice Department decision that empowers Native Americans to get in the pot business does make the possibilities interesting – especially when one takes a little trip down memory lane on the issue of casino gaming in Mississippi.

Mississippi Choctaws have said not a word about the recent federal ruling. But as Fordice and Barbour learned, there are at times two sets of rules when it comes to sovereign tribal nations.

Clarion Ledger
3/19/15