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Abstract

The purpose of this article is three-fold. First, it aims to provide a systematic review of international, United States, state, and federal Indian law and policy surrounding cannabis cultivation, possession, and use in Indian Country. Second, it argues that the 2017 New Mexico tribal medical cannabis bills (SB 345 & HB 348), which were introduced in the first regular session of the New Mexico State Legislature and would have permitted the state to enter into intergovernmental agreements (or compacts) with tribes who choose to implement the state’s medical cannabis program on tribal lands, contained legal vulnerabilities likely to hinder their effectiveness if passed into law. Third, and as a result of this legal and political environment, this article serves as a tribal cannabis policy resource for New Mexico legislators and as a proposal of model legislation and compact terms for the drafting of effective tribal medical cannabis legislation and state-tribal cannabis compacts. Part I provides a historical and legal overview of international and United States federal controlled substances law and policy. Part II explores the issues arising in federal Indian cannabis law and regulation, including: state criminal jurisdiction over non-Public Law 280 tribal lands, state taxation in Indian Country, tribal sovereign immunity, and state-tribal dispute resolution. Part III covers New Mexico cannabis law, including a discussion of the state medical cannabis regulatory apparatus and policy analysis of the 2017 New Mexico tribal medical cannabis bills. Part IV closely analyzes the pros and cons of the 2017 New Mexico tribal medical cannabis bills and provides recommendations for future effective tribal medical cannabis legislation and compact drafting. Finally, Part V puts forward a model tribal medical cannabis bill and state-tribal cannabis compact terms reflecting the legal conclusions drawn herein, which may serve as constructive guidance in a future legislative session or compact negotiations between New Mexico and the Indian nations, tribes, and pueblos within the state.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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