Mark Pocan
Press Release

Pocan Introduces Tribal Marijuana Sovereignty Act

Despite Congressional efforts to prevent federal interference in state marijuana programs, federal agencies have enacted policies that do not reflect this directive.

By - Apr 20th, 2016 03:50 pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02) introduced the Tribal Marijuana Sovereignty Act, which would prohibit federal agencies from considering a tribe’s marijuana policy when disbursing federal dollars to sovereign tribes.

“I strongly believe states should be allowed to enact their own marijuana laws, and have consistently supported attempts to ensure federal laws do not interfere with them,” said Rep. Mark Pocan. “I’m also an ardent supporter of tribal sovereignty, which is why I introduced this bill forbidding the federal government from considering marijuana production, possession, or sale as an adverse factor when disbursing federal funds.”

Despite Congressional efforts to prevent federal interference in state marijuana programs, federal agencies have enacted policies that do not reflect this directive. As an example, after Congress passed the 2014 Farm Bill, the United States Department of Agriculture-Natural Resource Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) issued a directive that prohibits any USDA-NRCS funding to agriculture producers who cultivate marijuana on any land, even if legal under state law. Many tribes are dependent upon federal assistance and this heavy-handed approach could severely impact tribes that need federal assistance the most.

Due to federal guidelines, doctors and nurses in federally-funded health centers are prohibited from discussing marijuana with their patients. They are prohibited from advising patients against self-medicating with marijuana, in addition to prescribing it for medical purposes. The bill reforms these guidelines and allows Indian Health Service  doctors to discuss marijuana with their patients. Additionally, the bill also ensures that individual members utilizing Indian Housing won’t be evicted for minor possession of marijuana.

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