Tribes tread carefully into discussions about marijuana growth, sales on reservations

Associated Press

The Navajo Nation had bitter debates when it was deciding whether to allow casinos on the reservation and if alcohol should be sold in them.

The arguments focused on revenue and jobs on a reservation where half the workforce is unemployed. It's also a place where most arrests and pervasive social ills are linked to alcohol abuse.

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The same divisive discussions have resurfaced with the federal government's announcement that American Indian tribes can grow and sell marijuana.

The split among Navajo leaders reflects divisions on reservations around the country.

Despite its allure as a potential revenue booster, many tribes are inclined to avoid marijuana. It's a particularly sensitive discussion on reservations where alcoholism, poverty, crime and joblessness are rampant.