Publication Date


Document Type



In the not-so-distant past, thoughts of Cannabis legalization in the United States were radical. In the present day, the narratives around Cannabis are changing. The term “present day” affixes this Article to early 2023, a snapshot in time. To understand the current legal narratives surrounding Cannabis, and what they might become in the future, it is important to examine the history of Cannabis law and policy in United States. This Article begins by discussing Cannabis regulation in the United States, from the rise of federal regulation to the gradual deregulation by states with tacit federal consent. The Article then examines the jurisdictional conflicts between tribes and states for tribes that attempt to decriminalize Cannabis on the reservation with specific attention paid to enforcement of criminal laws on reservation, regulation of commercial activity, and regulations regarding cannabis research in Indian Country. This Article then examines the recent marijuana policy statement issued by the Biden administration and current Congressional activity, including their possible implications for Cannabis in Indian Country and issues to watch. Finally, this Article concludes with a call to recognize the self-determination of tribes in establishing and enforcing their own Cannabis policies on reservation land.