Las Vegas-based U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden has sent a letter to the Moapa Paiute Tribe warning them that the High Times Cannabis Cup, planned for this weekend on their land, is a violation of federal law, according to a Reno Gazette-Journal report.
“I am informed that the tribal council is moving forward with the planned marijuana event referred to as the 2017 High Times Cannabis Cup because it is under the impression that the so-called ‘Cole Memorandum’ and subsequent memoranda from the Department of Justice permit marijuana use, possession and distribution on tribal lands when the state law also permits it,” Bogden wrote in the letter dated Feb. 16. “Unfortunately, this is an incorrect interpretation of the Department’s position on this issue.”
In the letter, Bogden argues that “nothing in the Guidance Memorandum or Cole Memorandum alters the authority or jurisdiction of the Unites States to enforce federal law in Indian Country or elsewhere.”
The Guidance Memo dictates that tribal governments and U.S. attorneys should seek government-to-government consulting as issues arise, while the Cole memo directs U.S. attorneys to consider local laws regarding cannabis enforcement.
Tribal Chairman Darren Daboda said he was working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Nevada to resolve potential conflicts. He said the tribe is promoting the event as a “vendors’ crafts, food, and concert event” and they are not promoting the sale or distribution of cannabis.
“To us, we’re looking at it as utilizing our sovereignty,” Daboda said in the report. “As long as (cannabis) is not visible, we’re told it will be OK.”
Democratic state Sen. Tick Segerblom, said the event “could be a huge boost for the tourism industry,” noting that he plans on proposing a bill this session to address adult-use cannabis policies for Nevada’s tribes.