The federal government has generally taken a hands-off approach to marijuana enforcement in states that have chosen to legalize the plant. So why did a federal agency recently raid a small, home cannabis garden of a medical cannabis patient living on Indian territory in New Mexico? That’s a question that officials with the Pueblo of Picuris are asking following the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) raid in September. And the response from the agency, which falls under the Department of the Interior, has done little to clear things up. “Why is Picuris being discriminated against or picked on?” the governor of the tribe, Craig Quanchello, said in a phone interview with Marijuana Moment on Tuesday. “Why are we having to suffer the consequences of a rogue officer? That’s what we’re trying to get to.” “That’s the story we’re trying to tell, is for them to have some equality across the Indian country for tribes,” he said, adding that the tribe wants to know “what is that secret criterion that is needed by the feds to not bother us that everybody else seems to have except us?” While the 54-year-old patient who had cultivated the nine seized marijuana plants isn’t Native American, he’s married to a tribal member and lives on the territory, which itself is located within a state where medical and recreational cannabis is legal and people can grow plants for personal use. “I was just open with the officer, straightforward,” Charles Farden said of the raid, talking to The Associated Press. “When he asked what I was growing, I said, ‘My vegetables, my medical cannabis.’ And he was like, ‘That can be a problem.’” The Pueblo of Picuris sent a letter to BIA through an attorney the day after the encounter, expressing concern about the lack of notification about the enforcement action.
Kyle Jaeger, Marijuana Moment, 11/25/2021 07:59:00