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Legal experts urge caution as tribes enter pot business – Marijuana News

Consultant Jonathan Hunt checks seedlings growing in the marijuana growing facility on the Flandreau Santee Sioux Reservation in September. AP Photo: Jay Pickthorn

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) -- Tribes across the U.S. are finding marijuana is risky business nearly a year after a Justice Department policy indicated they could grow and sell pot under the same guidelines as states.

Consultant Jonathan Hunt checks seedlings growing in the marijuana growing facility on the Flandreau Santee Sioux Reservation in September. AP Photo: Jay Pickthorn

Federal raids on tribal cannabis operations in California followed by a South Dakota tribe's move this month to burn its crop amid fears it could be next have raised questions over whether there's more to complying with DOJ standards than a department memo suggested last December.

The uncertainty - blamed partly on thin DOJ guidelines, the fact that marijuana remains an illegal drug under federal laws, and a complex tangle of state, federal and tribal law enforcement oversight on reservations - has led attorneys to urge tribal leaders to weigh the risks involved before moving forward with legalizing and growing pot.

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Mary Hudetz ~ Associated Press ~

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