Rep. Dave Joyce Of Ohio Continues To Push For Marijuana Legalization, Helps Tribes Left Behind By US Cannabis Laws

While Indigenous hemp and marijuana operators see opportunity within the space, it is evident that bureaucratic, investing and scalability hurdles continue to persist. The Pueblos of Picuris and Pojoaque, two of the 23 tribal nations in New Mexico, recently inked an intergovernmental agreement with the Land of Enchantment, thus taking a step toward setting up their own marijuana enterprises operating within their communities.

Now, U.S. Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH) has taken it a step further by securing a language in the fiscal year 2023 appropriations bill to protect the rights of Native American tribes which are impacted by federal cannabis laws, reported The Ripon Advance.

The language that seeks to protect tribes that have a license to use, distribute, possess or grow marijuana is part of the proposed FY 2023 funding bill for the U.S. Department of the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, of which Joyce is a ranking member. 

“Enforcing federal cannabis laws on tribal land, especially in cases where the tribe and the state have legalized cannabis use, is wrong and it needs to stop,” said Joyce. “These misguided enforcement actions have sent a chill through Indian country — tribes are unsure if the federal government will continue to enforce and prioritize federal marijuana laws only on reservations.”

Joyce has “worked closely” with the subcommittee chairman to attach the language to stop Interior and Justice entities from carrying out federal cannabis laws that conflict with tribal laws.

“Tribes are sovereign nations, and they have just as much of a right to enact and enforce their own laws as states do,” the congressman said.

In the meantime, under the US Department of Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), tribal landowners must obtain rights-of-way (ROW) approval before using their land for various projects, including cannabis cultivation.

White Plume Hemp Company’s founder Alex White Plume, an Oglala Sioux member and former tribal president, told Benzinga’s Andrew Ward recently that the BIA's ROW process is “ridiculous in the Lakota kinship system. They are not there to help us use our lands."

Joyce’s Recent Cannabis Legalization Efforts

Joyce was recently in talks with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) over bipartisan cannabis reform, resulting in a possible omnibus bill that may contain more than just banking and expungement reforms.

During a preliminary conversation earlier this month at the International Cannabis Bar Association conference, the two lawmakers discussed combining the already existing bipartisan bills - Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act from Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and Harnessing Opportunities by Pursuing Expungement (HOPE) Act. The HOPE Act, sponsored by Joyce and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) would help states expunge criminal records for non-violent cannabis convictions by setting up a State Expungement Opportunity Grant Program.

Joyce, who has been unwavering in his commitment to cannabis advocacy for years said at April’s Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference that he “can't wait for the day that when I leave a doctor's office or hospital, they prescribe cannabis versus all the hydrocodone that they're willing to give you as you walk out that door," as he also seeks comfort following a recent knee replacement surgery.

Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference

After a successful event in Miami during the 4/20 week, Benzinga is gearing up for its Chicago soiree this coming Sept. 13-14 and Ohio's Rep. Joyce will be there. Save your spot at the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago and get your conference tickets HERE.

Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is coming to Florida

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