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Charges Filed in Marijuana Operation On Tribal Reservation

Erin Mairose

  On Wednesday, August 3rd,  South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley announced charges against two men for drug offenses. The men were hired as consultants from a Colorado company that worked to help set up a marijuana resort with the Flandreau Santee Sioux tribe. 

Jackley says Eric Hagen is charged with conspiracy to possess more than 10 lbs of marijuana. Co-conspirator Jonathan Hunt is also charged for alleged drug offenses.

In June of 2015 an agreement was made between the Flandreau tribe and the consulting company Monarch to create a marijuana operation on the reservation.

Jackley says at time there were about 600 marijuana plants at the facility.  Eventually, the tribe destroyed the crop for fear of a federal raid. 

Jackley says plans for the operation extended beyond tribal lands, impacting non-tribal members.

“When you look at this plan, though, this went beyond enrolled members of a federally recognized tribe, this went beyond the borders of the tribe when you put together an open plan about consumption, about producing an upwards of 300 lbs of marijuana a month and that consumption would involve consumption lounges that has impaired driving, that creates public safety issues, along with literally busing our college kids to smoke marijuana,” says Jackley.

Paul Lewis is the state’s attorney in Moody County. He says he hopes the charges get tribal officials to reevaluate their stand on marijuana.

“This morning is a clarion call from the people of the state of South Dakota to the executive council of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe to reconsider their efforts towards moving forward with an adult playground for marijuana ingestion and consumption. The State of South Dakota surrounds this reservation. This reservation really consists of no more than 22 hundred acres and as a matter of fact, this reservation’s trust land is surrounded on all sides by state land.  And the people of South Dakota have determined it is unlawful to possess, unlawful to ingest, unlawful to grow, and unlawful to distribute marijuana."

Future court dates are scheduled for August 15th.