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Arizona tribes move toward legalizing recreational pot use

PHOENIX — Several Native American tribes in Arizona are close to legalizing recreational marijuana, according to a legal expert.

“They are moving cautiously,” Arizona professor Robert Williams said. “There has been several conferences and several tribes in Arizona that have expressed interest.”

Williams is director of the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program at the University of Arizona.

He said last year the federal government announced it would treat tribes the same way they do states regarding marijuana; however, the legalization process has been slow.

“You’re going to see a lot of division, a lot of debate as Arizona tribes contemplate exactly where they want to go with this issue,” Williams said.

But he added it was only a matter of time until those issues were resolved and local tribes will move forward with legalizing pot.

“In states like Colorado and in Washington, in those states some tribes are moving aggressively and Arizona tribes are looking at that,” he said.