One of the most high-profile Native American marijuana grow operations in northern California was raided last week, illustrating how tribes are still operating in a legal area when it comes to cannabis.
Local law enforcement officials raided two grow sites in Mendocino County run by the Pinoleville Pomo Nation, which made headlines in January when it signed a $30 million deal with cannabis management firm FoxBarry. Deputies seized nearly 400 plants and over 100 pounds of processed marijuana.
The tribe, however, maintains that it was operating in compliance with a memo from the federal Justice Department that lays out how Native Americans can exercise sovereign rights when it comes to the cannabis industry.
The seizures follow a similar incident in July, when federal agents raided another tribal grow site in California.
Marijuana production and sales on tribal lands is still an murky area because the matter hasn’t been set in statute by either Congress or any state legislature, and also hasn’t been ruled on by any court.