In a memo released Thursday (12/11), the US Department of Justice has opened the door for Tribal Governments to decide on the legalization of marijuana on Tribal lands - could this open the door to legalization of the drug in North Dakota? 

This policy change comes in the wake of state governments in Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and Alaska, as well as the District of Columbia legalizing recreational use of the drug.

U.S. Attorney for North Dakota Timothy Purdon, Chair of the Attorney General's subcommittee on Native American Issues, said that the policy has been in effect for more than a month, citing the policy memo dated October 28th.

Basically, this change will allow each Tribal government to decide if they want to legalize marijuana on their respective reservations.

Purdon has worked for years with Tribal governments on this issue, including some in North Dakota.

This is a topic that has been raised with me by tribes in North Dakota over the past couple of years. Those conversations have gone both ways...

Some Tribal leaders are worried about the state they reside in forcing legalization on them against their will, with others wanting to know how they can legalize the growing and sale of the plant themselves.

If a Tribal government wishes to go forward with legalization, they must comply with 8 enforcement priorities set forth by the Department of Justice, including preventing minors from accessing marijuana and preventing marijuana-intoxicated driving, among others.

Could this mean changes coming to the reservations of North Dakota? Only time will tell.