HOOPA - A community meeting was held Tuesday night in Hoopa to discuss ways the tribe could take advantage of cannabis cultivation.
Members of the Hoopa Tribe are banning together and getting educated on the marijuana industry all in an effort to, what they believe, help the reservation prosper.
"I think it will open up a lot of opportunities as far as people making money and people being more aware, because we're actually talking about the product. Because even if it doesn't get legalized, it's still going to be happening in the community," said Hoopa Tribal Member, Sam Campbell.
The Department of Justice now limits federal enforcement on tribes cultivating marijuana on reservations, if allowed by the state. However under Hoopa’s Title 34, cannabis cultivation is prohibited. In an effort to repeal the restriction, approximately 400 members signed a petition which resulted in "Repeal Title 34" being on an April 28th tribal ballot.
"It would create a lot of economic opportunities for people on the reservation, because there's a job for everybody in this industry. So people who want to get involved and make a living, hopefully we could combat the poverty that's on this reservation," said Hoopa Tribal Member, Clifford Marshall Jr.
"There's only so many jobs that the tribe produces and has and there's a lot of people that can't get jobs. So it would help people out, to grow the medicine and sell it to dispensaries, that don't have tribal jobs. So they could make money to provide for their families, because right now, we can't do that," said Louisa Jones, Hoopa Tribal Member
In addition, members have concerns about the tribe not recognizing the California medical marijuana 215 law.
"Right now, 215 is recognized within the whole state, federally recognized in order for people that are sick. That they can get medication from it, for marijuana, but here on the reservation, it is a zero tolerance," said Jones.
Marshall says, "And this is about people who are ill on the reservation being able to have access to medicine."
Members say, with limited economic opportunities, poverty and sick elders, they want to utilize cannabis as their renewable resource.
Jones says, "Why can't we make the best medicine in the world, right here on our reservation?"
The Hoopa Valley Tribal Council is currently considering all implications of cannabis on tribal lands but say, marijuana is still an illegal substance which poses many challenges to the tribe. At this time, the Hoopa Valley Tribal Government has not taken a position for or against the repeal.