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May 18, 2017 09:59 PM

Pot Growing Timeline

Flandreau, SD

Almost two years ago, the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe voted 5-1 to legally grow and sell marijuana on tribal land, becoming the first tribe in the country to legalize pot. 
That decision came after the federal government tweaked a law that allowed tribes to raise pot on tribal land.   
But the only thing it really raised was a lot of legal questions.

South Dakota's Attorney General warned the tribe that it would still be illegal for non-natives to be under the influence of marijuana and that even tribal members could be arrested if they are caught with marijuana in their system once they step off tribal land. 

But the tribe moved forward hiring two consultants.

Eric Hagen, the CEO of Monarch America, was hired to oversee the operation. 

Jonathan Hunt of Denver was hired to be the cultivation expert.

In October 2015, five state legislators toured the facility and tried to get answers to some of their questions about the growing operation.  Tribal leaders said they wanted state leaders to understand the science of the facility and see it as a farming operation rather than a drug den. 

But that November, succumbing to ongoing pressure, the Tribe suspended the growing operations and burned millions of dollars of pot intended to be sold in the nation's first pot smoking resort on tribal land. 

Sources told KELOLAND News the tribe didn't want to deal with the ongoing controversy with the federal government and feared a federal raid.
Tribal members talked about how they were going to use the money to make improvements to the community and the city of Flandreau.

Had plans moved forward, the marijuana growing operation could have brought a lot of money to the tribe. 

According to court papers, the plan was to produce 30-pounds of marijuana per week or $8.5 million worth of pot per year.

Hunt entered a guilty plea to a drug conspiracy charge.  He's not been sentenced yet.

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