Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded all Justice Department marijuana policies from the Obama-era on Jan 4, 2018. Change is coming and the following information will be updated as it happens.
The U.S. Justice Department issued a policy in 2014 regarding marijuana on tribal lands. It allows federally-recognized tribes in states with legalized marijuana to decide their own policies and self-regulate the growing and sales of marijuana on their reservations.
Cannabis is illegal for any use since 1931. In 2014 Alabama enacted Carly's Law to allow the University of Alabama at Birmingham to conduct federally-approved clinical tests of Cannabidiol (CBD oil) on children with seizures.
There 9 tribes in Alabama. The Poarch Band of Creeks is the only one that is federally recognized and affected by the DOJ policy.
The other 8 are state recognized: Echota Cherokee Tribe of Alabama, Cherokee Tribe of Northeast Alabama, Ma-Chis Lower Creek Indian Tribe, Star Clan of Muscogee Creeks, Cher-O-Creek Intra Tribal Indians, Mowa Band of Choctaw Indians, Piqua Shawnee Tribe, United Cherokee Ani-Yun-Wiya Nation.
For a complete list of Alabama tribes and locations, see our page about Alabama Tribes.
A lawsuit by the State of Alabama against the Poarch Band of Creek Indians is headed for the U.S. Supreme Court. The outcome may determine whether the Poarch enter the marijuana industry.
Alabama is suing to end electronic gambling machines at Poarch casinos. The state claims the federal government placed Poarch tribal land into trust in violation of the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. A 2009 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in Carcieri v. Salazar declared the federal government cannot place land into trust for tribes receiving federal recognition after the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. The Poarch Indians were recognized in 1984. The Poarch can cite other federal laws and court decisions to their defend their case.
"If the Poarch Creek Indians win that case, the Justice Department's decision authorizing marijuana on Indian lands will apply to the Poarch Creek Indians," Native American law expert Bryan Taylor.
The Poarch are also seeking to extend their casinos into Florida where they own an acre of land in the northwest Panhandle. If the Florida governor does not want to negotiate a gaming compact, the tribe has threatened to grow marijuana