McGirt Decision From the United States Supreme Court Said That the Muscogee Creek Nation Reservation Was Never Disestablished Through Oklahoma Statehood
Video Transcribed: Attention landlords renting to growers here in Northeast, Oklahoma. You’re going to want to know what the Muscogee Creek Nation code says about your circumstances. I’m Tulsa attorney James Wirth, and we’re about to talk about that.
This all starts with the McGirt decision from the United States Supreme Court coming down in June 2020, and what it said is that the Muscogee Creek Nation reservation was never disestablished through Oklahoma statehood.
So, a lot of the land in Northeast, Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa County and all of many of the surrounding counties, is all reservation land subject to the jurisdiction of the Muscogee Creek Nation. Now the Muscogee Creek Nation is a sovereign entity.
It does not recognize, necessarily the OMMA and licensing and all of those things, so we’ve got to look at what the code for the tribe says to see if this may be applicable to you.
So first off, the code. The laws in it are mostly only applicable to native Americans. So if you are not native American, for most crimes, you can not be prosecuted in the Muscogee Creek Nation court.
But if you are Native American, have a tribal card, have a CDIB card, and are residing or own property that is being leased to a grow operation in what is now considered to be tribal land, then that could be problematic because this is what the code says.
In Title 14, Section 2-519, it says, “The crime of cultivation of illegal plants,” and elsewhere, it defines illegal plants as being the growing of any plant from which can be derived a Schedule I or II drug.
And marijuana is listed, specifically in the code as being a Schedule I drug. It says, “The crime of cultivation of illegal plants occurs when a person knowingly fails to notify a law enforcement official of the existence or fails to destroy any illegal plant growing by human effort or wildly on or in any property owned or controlled by that person.”
So if you’re a landlord and you’ve rented to a grower, and you’re subject to these laws because you’re Native American and you’re subject to these laws because you’re living in what is now considered to be tribal territory but which was specifically just a large part of Northeast Oklahoma, then it is illegal for you not to tell them that there’s a grow operation on your property.
You have a duty to report it. If you don’t report it, then in addition to them being guilty of a felony, you’re guilty of a felony. Because the next section there says, “Any person convicted of violating the foregoing provisions shall be guilty of a felony.”
And then elsewhere in the code, it defines the punishment of being up to three years imprisonment for that. So if you are under those circumstances, renting property to a grow operation, and you’re Native American and subject to those laws, this is something you’ve got to consider.
There may be new regulations worked out that causes the state law to work better with the tribal law, but it hasn’t happened yet. So you need to be prepared for problems, potentially.
If you’re in that scenario and have questions for an attorney, we actually have an attorney on our staff that almost entirely devotes his practice to the cannabis businesses in Oklahoma. His name is Isaiah Brydie, he is an Oklahoma Cannabis Attorney. For more information visit, oklahomamedicalmarijuana.attorney. If you want to talk to him or another attorney about your circumstances, go to makelaweasy.com.