The splashy cover story in today's Times concerns pot cultivation on tribal lands and how everyone in Indian Country is apparently "alarmed" by this. The story trots out the usual drug-war tropes: guns, mystery Mexicans, cluck-clucking from law enforcement and local politicians.
You wouldn't know it from the Times story, but not all tribal members are "alarmed" about the possibility of growing pot on reservation land. In fact, some native leaders are cautiously exploring the idea of adding marijuana cultivation to tribal portfolios, alongside gambling, fireworks, and other business enterprises that have a competitive advantage (both legal and economic) when conducted on sovereign Indian lands. (And let's not jump to conclusions: Just because a Mexican national was found next to this marijuana farm, it doesn't mean that nobody on the reservation had anything to do with—or derived any financial benefit from—the operation.)
One of the leading voices on this issue is Gabe Galanda, who practices law in Seattle (not far from the Times offices—cough, cough) and is an enrolled member of the Round Valley Indian Tribes in California. He wrote an essay on the subject earlier this year. Here's a sample passage: "Indian Country has the sovereignty, land base, agricultural savvy, and business intangibles to really make legalized marijuana happen. For some rural tribes, those attributes are all they have to leverage economically."
Dear journalists everywhere: Next time you plan a big cover story on pot in Indian Country, give him a call.