South Dakota tribe halts 'marijuana resort' plans, burns its crop


The South Dakota tribe planning to open the nation's very first "marijuana resort" set fire to their fledgling marijuana crop, reports say.

The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, located on a reservation near the Minnesota border, burned the plants in their growing facility after "sources" told them federal agents were preparing to raid the operation, Indian Country Today Media Network reports.

The move followed a tribal vote on Saturday to "temporarily suspend" the project altogether, the news service says.

The legality of the operation – which was to include a lounge with bowling lanes, arcade games, a bar, an outdoor patio, music and more, CNN Money reported – had apparently become a matter of dispute between the tribe and the federal government.

According to USA Today, the Flandreau Santee Sioux put the resort on hold in order to get "clarification" from the feds on how to proceed legally.

The Associated Press says the main point of contention was whether the tribe could sell pot to people who aren't American Indian, as well as tribal members.

It's not entirely clear what steps need to be taken to resolve the issue, but Siouxland Matters notes the U.S. Justice Department gave Native American tribes the "authority to legalize marijuana," with the condition they play by the same rules as states (such as Colorado and Oregon) that have legalized pot.

The tribe's lawyer told USA Today the marijuana investment will be "better suited to succeed" once the Flandreau Santee Sioux have worked out their issues with the federal government.

They currently operate a successful gaming operation, the Royal River Casino and Hotel.

Keloland reports that South Dakota Attorney General Mark Jackey was scheduled to meet with the tribe on Tuesday to discuss what happens next.

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