The state of Oklahoma voted to legalize medical marijuana last month through a ballot initiative, but Native Americans living in the state will probably not have access to cannabis despite the new laws.
The Cherokee Nation, the largest tribe of Native Americans in the United States, announced that medical marijuana will still be forbidden on tribal lands in Oklahoma. Since tribal lands are considered sovereign and can make their own laws regardless of state laws. They said that members of the Cherokee tribe could face punishments and non-tribal members could face punishments under federal law.
Oklahoma has the second largest Native American population of any U.S. state with around 321,000 members of various tribes, the majority of which are Cherokee. Only California has more Native Americans with 362,000.
While the Cherokee Nation is continuing to ban marijuana, it's not clear if the move is being made for ideological reasons or political pressures. Many health clinics that operate on tribal lands are funded by the federal government, and some tribal officials have cited that as a reason to not expect any dispensaries popping up in the near future.
So perhaps if the federal government changes its rules, more tribes will become open to working with the cannabis industry.