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While covering marijuana culture in Washington state, Fusion’s cannabis correspondent Ryan Nerz decided to investigate a topic he’d been curious about for a while: What’s happening with weed on Native American Reservations? There’s not much info about it on the interwebs. And yet, many Americans assume the trademark Native American “peace pipe” has always been filled with…that peaceful herb.
But Native American author, attorney, and activist Gyasi Ross stepped in to dispel the old peace pipe rumor and explain that Washington state’s tribes are almost unilaterally differing from the rest of the state, which has legalized recreational marijuana. Why can tribes make their own laws, which sometimes contradict state laws? Sovereignty, says Gyasi. “We’ve been here for thousands of years. We’ve been here when here wasn’t here. We can make our own laws.”
Credit: Ryan Nerz, C.J. Dominguez, Sebastian Perry, and Darwin Phillips