“We were pushing our rights. We’re just sick of being held down. And every economic opportunity, we’re held back from.”
By Max Nesterak, Minnesota Reformer
About three months ago, Mahnomen County sheriff’s deputies and White Earth tribal police raided Todd Thompson’s tobacco shop, seizing around seven pounds of cannabis, along with $3,000 in cash, his cell phone and surveillance system.
The August 2 raid happened the day after recreational marijuana became legal across the state and was the first major enforcement action under the new law.
But no charges have been filed in the case—and the state may not have the authority to prosecute him or any other tribal member for marijuana crimes on reservations.
Thompson, a member of the White Earth Nation, didn’t have a state permit to sell cannabis nor did he have the consent of the tribal council, which voted days earlier to allow adult-use cannabis and sell marijuana cultivated in its tribal-run facility.
For his part, Thompson doesn’t believe he needs the permission of the state or the tribal council to sell marijuana on the reservation under the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe’s constitution or U.S. treaties with the Ojibwe. That’s why Thompson said he and four other