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Cannabis bust on Indigenous land highlights legal divide

New Mexico Pot Bust
John Pettit via AP
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In this Sept. 29, 2021, photo provided by John Pettit, law enforcement officers with the Bureau of Indian Affairs inspect a cannabis garden at Picuris Pueblo, N.M. A federal raid on a household marijuana garden on tribal land in northern New Mexico at Picuris Pueblo is sowing uncertainty and some resentment about U.S. drug enforcement priorities on Native American reservations. The Bureau of Indian Affairs officers seized about nine plants at Picuris Pueblo while handcuffing registered medical marijuana patient Charles Farden.

A federal raid on a small household marijuana garden on tribal land in northern New Mexico is sowing confusion and resentment about U.S. drug enforcement priorities on Native American lands, as more states roll out legal marketplaces for recreational pot.

Bureau of Indian Affairs officers confiscated nine cannabis plants from a medical marijuana patient at Picuris Pueblo, where tribal officials are contemplating a cannabis business venture.

The BIA patrols the pueblo and says it can’t tell officers to stand down, even amid state legalization of home grown pot and retail sales. New Mexico legalized recreational, home-grown marijuana this year.