State Supreme Court Rules Against “Off-Reservation” Cigarette Sellers
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) – The Washington Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that the state has criminal jurisdiction over tribal members who sell cigarettes without a required tax at stores outside of tribal reservation boundaries.
In Thursday’s ruling, the court upheld a Pierce County court’s denial of members of the Quinault Indian Nation who sought to have state charges against them dismissed.
The state and the Quinaults have had a cigarette tax compact since 2005. It applies to the sale of cigarettes by “tribal retailers” and requires smoke shops located in “Indian country” to be licensed by the tribe. The store in question, The Indian Country Store, was not licensed by the Quinaults. The store is located on trust allotment land in Puyallup, outside of the boundaries of the reservation.