Sovereign Nation or Subject to Local Laws?Round Valley Marijuana Raids Bring Activists and Tribes Together
Reportedly, the arrest of tribal council chair and his wife and daughter as well as others in a series of raids on the Round Valley reservation last September turned up the heat on long simmering tensions between native people and law enforcement. In a meeting of the Round Valley Tribal Council set for January 4th, the issue of tribal sovereignty versus outside law enforcement is on the table. The Mendocino Medical Marijuana Advisory Board (MMMAB) plans to attend and discuss the issue of tribal sovereignty. Pebbles Trippet, well-known medical cannabis activist and member of MMMAB explained in a letter,
The issue of the marijuana raids is at the center of the tribal council’s concerns. …One of the questions must be –regarding the right of native peoples to grow medical marijuana on sovereign reservations, whose guidelines take priority — tribal law or county ordinance?
According to Trippet, the Reservation is guided by entirely different tribal guidelines (30 plants per person) than the Mendocino County ordinance which requires 25 plants per parcel. “But,” Trippet insists, “the defendants themselves…universally appear to have had no idea they were considered out of compliance with state and county law.”
In raids reminiscent of earlier, more stringent law enforcement almost 20,000 plants, 2300 pounds of processed marijuana, 19 firearms and over $40,000 in cash were seized. Over 40 people were arrested.
Trippet describes the raids as very hard-hitting. She says there were “…three days of relentless helicopter noise, hovering at tree top level” over the Round Valley Reservation. She calls these three days “…a prolonged terrorizing of the town but only the latest assault on Indian people.”