I was sitting at the center of my unstable dining room table recently, nibbling on a pot brownie and watching the ugliness of this presidential campaign unfold on mainstream news, when I wondered: Where do Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton stand on the subject of medicinal or recreational marijuana operations on reservations?
So, I reached out to the Clinton camp for comment, and thus far they haven’t responded. They’re currently dealing with the backlash to Bill’s comment about how “the Black Lives Matter movement protects criminals,” said a fiscally conservative Clinton supporter I met here in Denver last night. Hillary’s Native American Advisor, Charlie Galbraith, told me last week by phone that it would go to one of Hillary’s senior staff campaign wizards to comment on the budding weed business in Indian country. Galbraith said he’d try to get me a response as soon as possible, but in journalism time that was years ago.
But Bernie’s folks responded within a matter of hours:
“Bernie supports the right for states to opt for legalization of marijuana, and as a strong supporter of tribal sovereignty, that same stance would apply to tribal nations as well,” Nicole Willis [Confederated Tribes of Umatilla], Sanders’s National Tribal Outreach Director, wrote in message.
“Senator Sanders fully supports tribal sovereignty and economic development initiatives in Native America,” Tara Houska [Couchiching First Nation], Native American Advisor to Sanders, and a fellow rabble rouser in her own right, said in a statement. “Marijuana decriminalization has significantly and positively impacted several state economies; sovereign tribal nations with strong, efficient regulatory and enforcement systems deserve this same opportunity.”
And still no call from the Clinton folks.