Medical marijuana is now legal in Oklahoma, but when it comes to tribal land, the same rules don't apply.
Indian Country may be located within Oklahoma state borders, but it is a different jurisdiction than the state of Oklahoma itself.
There are a few states that opted into what's known as Public Law 280. It's where the tribes are under state jurisdiction. Oklahoma did not opt into the PL 280 status.
“There are certain things that 788 does not speak to,” said Interim OSDH Commissioner Tom Bates. “There are some gaps in 788. The way it’s written no doubt.”
But what is known - State Question 788 does not legalize medical marijuana in Indian Country jurisdiction. That includes casinos and hotels.
A statement given by the chief of police for the Osage Nation Police Department states that marijuana will remain a Schedule I narcotic, until otherwise reclassified by the Department of Justice.
So, they will handle marijuana like they always have.
In a statement given by Chief Vernon Griffin of the Comanche Nation Police Department, he says that his guidance on criminal prosecution comes from the US Attorney's Office for the Western District.
Until that changes, Police Chief Griffin says they will continue prosecution for possession, distribution, and cultivation of Controlled or Dangerous Substances, such as marijuana.
“It will take some time to fully implement all of the steps recommended in preparation for this program,” said Chief Griffin.
SQ 788 was briefly discussed before passing at a conference with several police chiefs last week. It was said that guidance on medical marijuana comes from the Department of Justice.