By Steve Elliott
The Yakama Nation of Washington state is moving to ban marijuana -- legalized by state voters in 2012 -- in all 10 counties of its ancestral lands, covering one-fifth of the state's territory.
The tribe has already banned cannabis on its 1.2 million-acre reservation near Yakima, reports Mike Faulk at the Yakima Herald.
Tribal representatives said they would fight the state to keep marijuana businesses off ceded lands. The tribe could sue the state in federal court if no compromise is reached, according to Yakama Nation Tribal Council Chairman Harry Smiskin.
"We're merely exercising what the treaty allows us to do, and that is prevent marijuana grows (and sales) on those lands," Smiskin claimed.
The Yakama Nation was to have exclusive use of the 1.2 million-acre reservation under the Yakama Treaty of 1855 with the federal government, in addition to fishing, hunting and food-gathering rights on more than 12 million acres of ceded land.
The tribe has, in the past, won in court against federal and state government as well as private interests, but most of those cases have been regarding access to natural and cultural resources.
"To my knowledge, this would be the first time" the tribe has sued to prevent implementation of a law on all ceded land, said George Colby, a lawyer for the Yakama Nation.