Organization representing Northwest tribes opposes legalized marijuana

FERNDALE — The Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, which represents more than 50 tribes, including the Quinault Indian Nation, recently opposed marijuana legalization “at all levels of government.”

The marijuana opposition, passed last week during ATNI’s winter convention, states that “today’s marijuana is 4 to 10 times more potent than marijuana of previous decades and is a threat to the health and safety of all Tribes, especially our youth.”

A total of 22 resolutions were passed during the convention.

Among ATNI’s 57 members are the Port Gamble S’Klallam and Port Madison Suquamish tribes.

The Suquamish Tribe, an ATNI member, declined to comment on the recently passed ATNI resolution in opposition to marijuana but took a stance against “hard drugs” — meth, heroin and illegal prescription drug use — on Port Madison Reservation with the tribal police department’s Drug Eradication Initiative earlier this month, according to communications director April Leigh.

On Feb. 14, the Suquamish Tribal Council asked that cases involving “dealers of dangerous drugs” be treated as a priority for the tribal police, court and prosecutor and that tribal staff develop and implement treatment plans for victims of heroin, meth and prescription drug abuse.

S’Klallam Tribe Executive Director Kelly Sullivan said the tribe cannot comment about the marijuana opposition since it was not at the ATNI meeting.

The S’Klallam Tribe has been helping the Suquamish in its drug eradication, Sullivan added.

The S’Klallam has had a prevention coalition, called Chi-ee-chee, for 20 years. “It is very active in heroin, meth, marijuana and underage drinking prevention as well as treatment,” Sullivan said.

The tribe also started a Take Back the Rez initiative a few years ago.

ATNI represents tribal governments from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Northern California, Southeast Alaska and Western Montana, according to its website.

California, Oregon and Alaska might be voting to legalize marijuana this year.

The marijuana opposition also says that tribes continue to have higher rates of marijuana and drug use than other races and ethnicities in the United States.

ATNI is now partnering with Smart Approaches to Marijuana for drug prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery with marijuana.


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