Choctaw Nation District Court

DERRICK JAMES | Staff photo

Choctaw Nation’s Division of Legal and Compliance Senior Executive Officer Brad Mallet said the tribe reserves the right to determine its membership and would not recognize any attempts to define it.

Choctaw Nation Tribal Council members passed a temporary amendment regarding the use of medical marijuana for Native Americans living within the tribe’s jurisdiction.

The council voted during the special session to amend the tribe’s public health and safety code that outlawed the use and growing of marijuana, including medical marijuana.

Medical marijuana cards or business licenses issued by the state of Oklahoma were not recognized under Choctaw Nation law after the April 1 Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals ruling that applied the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma to the Choctaw Nation reservation.

According to tribal laws, Native Americans who now fall under the criminal jurisdiction of the tribe who used medical marijuana risked jail time and fines.

“Without an amendment, Native Americans in possession of a valid state medical marijuana license, within the Choctaw Nation reservation, could have been arrested and charged for marijuana-related offenses in tribal court,” the Choctaw Nation said in a Wednesday press release.

Eleven council members, Thomas Williston, Tony Ward, Eddie Bohanan, Delton Cox, Ronald Perry, Jennifer Woods, Perry Thompson, James Dry, Anthony Dillard, Robert Karr and James Frazier, voted for the measure with District 7 Councilman Jack Austin Sr. casting the lone no vote.

Plans call for the Tribal Council to pass a new code in November covering medicinal marijuana “or an extension of” the current temporary measure, otherwise the permitted use of medicinal marijuana within the Choctaw Reservation will expire.

“In discussion of the amendment, Tribal Council indicated that their intent is to research this issue further and propose better rules and regulations concerning medical marijuana for Native Americans within the Choctaw Nation reservation that minimize misuse of medical marijuana,” the press release states.

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