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Legal Experts Urge Caution as Tribes Enter Pot Business

Marijuana
David McNew/Getty Images

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Tribes across the U.S. are finding marijuana is risky business nearly a year after a Justice Department policy indicated they could grow and sell pot under the same federal guidelines outlined for states.

Federal raids on tribal cannabis operations in California followed by a South Dakota tribe’s move this month to burn its crop amid fears it could be next have led some tribal leaders to take pause as they assess the risks of launching their own ventures.

At a tribal economic development conference in Santa Fe, attorneys suggested there may be more red tape for tribes to negotiate than states with legalizing marijuana.

The DOJ memo in December directed its prosecutors not to prioritize federal marijuana laws in cases where tribes legalize the drug, and take measures that include keeping pot out of the hands of children and criminals.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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