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Snoqualmie Tribal Council's joke resolution to legalize marijuana for a day falls flat with chief

It was only a joke, say members of the Snoqualmie Tribal Council. They didn't really legalize marijuana for the day of the Willie Nelson concert at Snoqualmie Casino.

What they did really do with their Thursday, July 7 resolution, was stir up a pot of tribal politics. Responses to the joke resolution ranged from phone calls to tribe offices and blog entries declaring the action a good idea and a great money-maker, to a written apology to all Native Americans from Chief Jerry J. Kanim Enick.

Surprised by the strong responses, Tribal Administrator Matt Mattson said the council had never intended to make a political or policy statement with the resolution.

"Marijuana is illegal under tribal code," he stressed.

Instead, he said, the council was trying to be light-hearted in the face of ongoing struggles over leadership and tribe membership.

"I think it was taken out of context by some tribal members, and the council didn't do a good job of explaining that they were trying to do," Mattson said. "It was always intended to be a gesture to Mr. Nelson, given his history."

Willie Nelson recently pleaded no contest and paid a $500 fine to charges from Nov. 26, 2010, arrest for possession of marijuana. He is also known for his work with the movement to legalize marijuana nationwide.

Council members had originally planned to frame the resolution, which passed 4-2, and present it to Willie Nelson when he arrives for his concert July 30, but that idea has been abandoned now.

"The punch line is sort of gone," said Mattson. "It doesn't seem like that's appropriate."

Mattson is not sure why the vote was recorded as 4-2, since "there were only five council members here when the discussion was happening," he said. He assumes the two votes against were part of the joke, as well, since he doesn't recall anyone opposing the resolution.

Weighing in on the resolution by e-mail, Enick—who is not a voting council member, and recently demanded a recall of the sitting group—said he was sorry for the tribe's Raging River substance abuse rehabilitation program, the tribe's Canoe Family and all tribal employees.

"This goes against all native values and morals and has brought great shame and embarrassment upon our people, our leadership and our great nation," he wrote.

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