An Oregon branch of the Native American Church states that the United States government illicitly took its marijuana and is now working to retrieve it. James “Flaming Eagle” Mooney and Joy Graves, the leaders of the Oklevueha Native American Church, decided to take action on January 15th in a United States district country in Portland. According to Graves, give ounces of marijuana was sent to a church member in Ohio on December 10th. However, it never delivered. The Postal Service tracking website revealed that the package was actually intercepted by law enforcement.
A worker at a postal office in Portland informed her that marijuana is not yet legal under federal law. However, he was unmoved when she stated that the plant was sent to a church member suffering from cancer to use it for healing rituals, Courthouse News Service reports. Oregon allowed medical cannabis for the first time in 2007 and eight years later, in 2015, legalized recreational marijuana through a ballot measure.
Medical and recreational marijuana are still illegal in Ohio albeit small amounts are decriminalized. Nonetheless, it is still a federal crime to send marijuana through the mail. According to Mooney and Graves, marijuana has been used for hundreds of years in health rituals and as a result, they would like the five ounces seized to be returned. Also, they would also like freedom of government action when it comes to their uses for cannabis because of their rights through the 1978 American Indian Religious Freedom Act.
However, there may be a different case at hand. Graves does not seem to be involved with any federally recognized Indian tribe. Mooney states that he comes from Osceola, a doctor and war chief of the Seminole Tribe. He adds that he is a member of the Crow clan of the Cox Osceola Seminole Indian Reservation in Orange Springs, Florida. Yet Ruth Hopkins, the chief judge of the Spirit Lake Tribe of Dakota Sioux in Fargo wrote “Pot and Pretendians,” an article accusing the Oklevueha Native American Church of pretending to be natives in order to obtain the benefits of marijuana.
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