Members of the Red Lake Nation made history on Wednesday by becoming the first tribal nation in Minnesota to vote in favor of a medical cannabis referendum. This program will be the only source of legal medical cannabis flower in Minnesota as the state’s program currently only allows oils, topicals, and pills. This vote comes just days after the Minnesota Senate voted down a measure to expand the state’s limited cannabis program to include flower to patients over the age of 21.
In a Facebook video posted by Red Lake Nation For Full Legalization, Kevin Jones Jr. said “I want to congratulate the Red Lake Nation on voting on medical cannabis. It was a big, big turn out.”
The final vote count had 1765 band members voting in favor, which is just over 80% of the total vote. The referendum itself asked tribal members “Shall the tribal council authorize the production, regulation, and distribution of medical marijuana on the Red Lake Reservation?” The final count for the referendum can be found below:
Quoted in the Grand Forks Herald, Jones said that a big driver of this referendum was in an effort to reduce the number of opioid overdoses. “If this passes, this is going to make a big change here in Red Lake Nation. There’s going to be a lot of changes to come with this.”
This referendum vote is the largest percentage of a voter population to vote in favor of medical cannabis across the country. The previous largest victory, the 2018 measure in Florida, only passed with just over 71% of the vote.
The fight doesn’t end here for activists. Jones, who is a member of the Chippewa Cannabis Party, said that the fight for adult-use cannabis legalization begins. “You all made history,” Jones stated on Facebook, “Let’s keep moving forward”