Native American tribes will be allowed to grow and sell marijuana on sovereign tribal lands, according to a memo sent by the Department of Justice.

The tribes would be able to do so in states where the drug is prohibited, although they would have to abide by federal restrictions on selling the drug to minors.

The Justice Department allows tribes to enforce their own marijuana laws, meaning they could ban or allow sales where they want.

Timothy Purdon, chairman of the Attorney General's Subcommittee on Native American Issues, told the Los Angeles Times newspaper that some tribes may be reluctant to legalise a drug, given the well documented history of alcohol abuse within some Native American communities.