Marijuana plant

The Eastern Shoshone Tribe will vote this month on whether to legalize medical marijuana. Content Exchange

The Eastern Shoshone General Council will host a special general meeting to vote on the legalization and decriminalization of medical marijuana at 10 a.m. May 15 at Rocky Mountain Hall.

Tribal member Bobbi Shongutsie will present agenda items to legalize medical marijuana through the Cole Memorandum, a U.S. Department of Justice ruling that recognizes sovereign governments on tribal lands and reservations; decriminalize medical marijuana by removing it from the Shoshone and Arapaho Law and Order Code; and create a regulatory commission.

A public meeting will be held two days before the vote, at 3 p.m. May 13 at Rocky Mountain Hall, where more information on medical marijuana will be available.

Medical marijuana legalization has been gaining momentum on the reservation for some time now. So-go-Beah Naht-Su — which means “mother earth and medicine” in Shoshone — a group advocating for the benefits of medical marijuana, has been lobbying tribal members with its efforts to bring awareness and economic benefits to the reservation.

Last year, when the idea of the tribe voting on legalization gained public attention, Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon said the state did not yet have a position on the move. But support among Wyomingites for marijuana legislation has been growing since last year. A poll by the University of Wyoming showed that more than half of the state’s residents supported the legalization of recreational marijuana.

Wyoming has become increasingly surrounded by states who have legalized marijuana to some extent. Last year, residents in Montana and South Dakota voted in favor of legalization, though the South Dakota decision remains tied up in the courts. Colorado is approaching a decade of legalization.

In September 2019, the General Council voted to have a group examine legalizing medical marijuana and create a plan to potentially vote on.

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