Muscogee (Creek) Nation is adding laws and making other changes to accommodate the increased jurisdictional authority the Tribe has because of the McGirt v. Oklahoma decision issued by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Nation says these changes are just a start.
The Lighthorse Police now have the authority to issue citations or make arrests for offenses previously not included in Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s traffic codes including driving while talking on a cell phone or driving with a suspended license.
“The new traffic code is far more comprehensive than the existing traffic code,” Muscogee (Creek) Nation's Attorney General Roger Wiley said.
The changes also make sure bicycles and pedestrians are given the right of way and traffic signs are updated.
Wiley said the updates were needed to increase safety on the streets within the Nation's boundaries and ensure that tribal traffic codes match what Oklahoma has on its books.
"If a police officer stops an Indian person within the Creek reservation they can be confident that they can write a traffic citation that correlates to tribal traffic law. So, that was the main reason for doing it,” said Wiley.
In addition to adding traffic laws, the Nation will allow certain exemptions related to medical marijuana within the reservation boundaries.
The law says:
“It shall not be unlawful for any person to grow, process, dispense, test, possess, or use marijuana in any form in the Nation’s Indian country under a valid medical marijuana license issued by the Oklahoma State Department of Health as long as such person is in compliance with all medical marijuana license laws and regulations under Oklahoma State law.”
The new legislation would allow medical marijuana license holders to be in possession of a controlled dangerous substance as long as they are in compliance under Oklahoma state law.
Reservations are under federal jurisdiction. Currently, there is no federal law allowing for possession of marijuana, but Oklahoma law allows for possession of it for medical use.
Muscogee (Creek) Nation officials want to make sure their laws match the state law so people who are using marijuana to treat a medical issue won't be in fear of running afoul of the law.
Mvskoke Reservation Preservation Commission recommended the changes to provide clarity and eliminate uncertainty.
“This is an excellent example of the Nation exercising its sovereignty to amend its criminal law to address public safety issues in the Mvskoke Reservation,” Principal Chief David Hill said. “Furthermore, this is a pro-business action by the Commission and commitment to individuals and entities licensed in medical marijuana endeavors throughout the reservation.”
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