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Tribes’ New Medical Marijuana Law May Or May Not Pass Muster With The Feds


(Editor’s Note: This is the first installment of a two-part series addressing the recent vote by the Fort Peck Tribes Executive Board to legalize medical marijuana, potential roadblocks in federal law, whether the tribal law would compliment or clash with Montana’s 11-year-old voter-approved measure that allows medical marijuana and attempts to overturn the Montana statute.)
With the Fort Peck Tribes Executive Board voting 6-4 in late July to legalize medical marijuana, the decision evokes questions of federal legality.
The action by the executive board does not legalize recreational usage.
It would recognize Montana medical marijuana cards carried by enrolled tribal members.
The change would go into effect Oct. 1.
The executive board approved a resolution by a 7-4 vote in January to legalize medical marijuana on the reservation. Further action was not taken at that time, largely due to gray areas with federal law.
Questions remain of whether the approval of medical marijuana complies with federal law and, if not, whether federal funding to the tribes could be jeopardized.
It remains illegal in the view of the federal government to possess, distribute or cultivate any amount of cannabis. Though at least one federal judicial decision, federal authorities can disregard state law and federal law does not shield medical marijuana users from federal prosecution.
Essentially, Montana’s state law passed by voters in 2004 that legalizes medical marijuana does not apply to the seven Indian reservations within the state and other federal lands. It has been interpreted that non-Indians living in Wolf Point, Poplar and elsewhere on the reservation cannot legally use medical marijuana.
The tribes’ law includes a one-ounce limit, lists illnesses that qualify for a medical marijuana card and states that only legal providers may provide marijuana. Patients may not grow their own plants.
In addition, Indian Health Service issued a memo saying the federal agency does not recognize medical marijuana, that it would not allow health care providers it recognizes to issue cards and that IHS pharmacies would not provide marijuana.
It is not clear whether the tribes would operate a dispensary. There is a risk that federal agents could raid the facility, seize marijuana and arrest people in the facility. That has happened elsewhere in Montana.
Billings attorney Majel Russell represents the tribes and presented a medical marijuana code to the executive board.
She did not respond to attempts to reach her for comment at her office and on her cell phone.
Executive board members Ed Bauer, Dana Buckles, Marva Firemoon, Roxanne Gourneau, Terry Rattling Thunder and Stacey Summers voted in favor of legalizing medical marijuana and Charles Headdress, Pearl Hopkins, Rick Kirn and Grant Stafne voted against it.

Elizabeth Hendrickson Performs At The Medora Musical


Elizabeth Hendrickson of Culbertson performs on stage at the Medora Musical in Medora, N.D., on Sunday, Aug. 2.   (Submitted photo)

Elizabeth Hendrickson of Culbertson performed on stage at the Medora Musical in Medora, N.D., on Sunday, Aug. 2, to an audience of about 2,000 people.
She performed as part of the pre-show just before the start of the Musical. She was asked to sing there as the 2015 Teddy Talent Trek winner from the competition which was held in Williston, N.D., on March 28. She sang two songs, Inside Your Heaven by Carrie Underwood and Anyway by Martina McBride.
Hendrickson also performed in Williston on Aug. 8, at the Annual Chokecherry Festival which was held at Harmon Park. She sang seven selections including I Will Always Love You  [Whitney Houston’s version] and concluding with a powerful performance of How Great Thou Art.
After the show Hendrickson attended the Martina McBride concert at the Richland County Fair in Sidney, which included a backstage pass to meet and have her picture taken with McBride, who just happens to be her musical idol.

Culbertson Public Schools Ready To Open

Culbertson School will officially open its doors to students on Thursday, Aug. 20, at 8:30 a.m.
There are several new teachers and other staff the district is welcoming. The teachers are: Leslie Dendy, junior high science and social studies; Hayley Swain, K-12 Spanish; Jennesy Taberna, grades 5-12 instrumental music; and Karli Larsen, speech and language pathologist.
Other new staff are custodians Erica Counts, Justin Vasquez, Brooks Rattling Thunder and Mike Jasper, and cook’s helper Genny Nordmeyer.
Returning teaching staff for the upcoming year will be: Erin Solem, kindergarten; Wendy Nickoloff, first grade;  Dianne Larsen, second grade; Theresa McDonald, third grade; Amy Berwick, fourth grade; Chelsey Ligon, fifth grade; Jimie Lou Marchwick-Wix, sixth grade; Tara Adams, Title I; Brad Adams, Title I; Lana Hekkel, K-8 vocal music; Jill Herness, librarian; Christina Olson, health and physical education; Joy Johnson, art; David Solem, social studies; Janelle Ator, special education; Jeri Gustafson, high school Title I; Karen Toavs, high school English; Lori Roys, high school mathematics; Paula Schledewitz, high school science; Shawn Harkins, grades 7-12 business education; Ashley Copple, junior high English and mathematics; Jens Nielsen, grades 7-12 agriculture education; and Courtney Hagadone, K-12 counselor.
Returning support staff include: Lora Finnicum, district clerk; Doreen Martin, assistant clerk;  Rhonda Larsen, administrative secretary; Cassie Williams, activities secretary; Paula Dehner, aide; Jennifer Lambert, Title I aide; April Deen, Title I aide; Tiffany Marchwick, special education aide; Sande Marchwick-Wix, special education aide; Krysia Traffie, special education aide; Elizabeth Harkins, special education aide; Tifney Kempton, special education aide; Mary Machart, JMG coordinator; Steve Larsen, maintenance director; Norine Haugland, custodial director; Candy Thorpe, custodian; Pam Zieman, JOM/Title VII home-school coordinator; Nancy Mahan, head cook; LaRetta Jones; assistant cook; Darnell Craig, cook’s helper; Arne Iverson, bus route driver; Larry Birch, bus route driver; Larry Hekkel, bus route driver; Paul Finnicum, bus route driver; Leo Waldhausen, bus route driver; and Christian Hekkel, bus route driver.
The administration includes district superintendent Larry Crowder and K-12 principal Mike Olson.
Coaches for the fall sports seasons include: Tiffany Marchwick, high school head volleyball; Kayla Sherman, high school assistant volleyball; Chelsey Ligon, junior high volleyball; Dave Helmer, high school head football; Brian Manning, high school assistant football; DJ Hauge, junior high head football; Jeff Nickoloff, junior high assistant football; Larry Crowder, junior high assistant football; David Solem, high school cross country; and Erin Solem, elementary/junior high cross country.
Information packets have been mailed to all parents of Culbertson students. This packet will include the school calendar, supply lists and lunch information.
Junior high and high school students are encouraged to come to the office to sign up for lockers and schedule classes for fall semester prior to the first day of school.
School pictures will be on Wednesday, Aug. 26, with preschool starting at 8 a.m.
If anyone has any questions, they may contact the school at 787-6241.

Bainville Town Council Approves Budget

The Bainville Town Council met Monday, Aug. 10, to approve the city budget, get an update on the public works project and meet with Roosevelt County Sheriff Jason Frederick to discuss a county dog ordinance.
The water change is complete on the public works project and all working hydrants have been flushed. The next task is to begin total chlorine testing. Public works plans to install 20 new water meters around the town of Bainville and a conference call will take place to insure these meters are installed properly.
The Roosevelt County Commissioners recently approved an ordinance regulating vicious dogs countywide. Past incidents have brought this issue to the table and now an owner of a vicious dog will be held accountable for incidents. In order for a dog to be considered vicious, it must attack and bite someone.
“No matter what, if a dog bites someone, that dog will be impounded for 10 days,” Frederick said. “The owner will have to pay all impound fees and make the decision upon either getting a chip placed in their animal or having the animal destroyed.”
This ordinance will be effective after Aug. 28.
The council adopted a resolution fixing the annual appropriations for the town for the fiscal year of 2015-16.
The next town council meeting is slated for Monday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m., in the Bainville Town Hall.

County Goes To Lofty Heights With Offsite IT Storage On The Cloud

Roosevelt County is going to lofty heights in the cloud as the county commissioners voted Tuesday, Aug. 11, to back up county files with cloud technology.
The county’s IT manager Cole Hanks told the commissioners the 500 gigs of memory would be adequate and offsite storage with cloud technology would add protection in the event of a fire or other disaster at the Courthouse.
The cost will be $899.
The commissioner earlier approved a $9,997 request by sheriff Jason Frederick during an administrative session to purchase 11 body cameras for deputies.
The commissioners also approved a contract with Interstate Engineering of Nashua to engineer an overlay project for Rodeo Road. The cost of the project will not be known until after the engineering is completed.
George Budak of Poplar asked the commissioners to grade the county road near Chelsea Church between U.S. Hwy. 2 and the railroad tracks.