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Menominee Sue Federal Authorities Over Hemp Growing

Chairman Says Tribe Should Have Same Ability As States To Grow Hemp

Shawn Johnson/WPR

Wisconsin’s Menominee Tribe of Indians is suing the federal government over the right to grow what it calls industrial hemp.

The federal suit against U.S. Department of Justice authorities, filed in the Eastern District of Wisconsin’s federal court, has three points it’s seeking judgment on, according to an attorney representing the tribe.

First is whether the tribe cultivated hemp in a way that is protected by the 2014 farm bill, which some interpret as giving sovereign tribes the right to cultivate hemp. Second is whether state law prohibits the tribe from growing the non-psychoactive strain of hemp. Third is whether the College of the Menominee Nation is allowed to conduct hemp research under the farm bill.

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The farm bill recognizes a distinction between marijuana and hemp, which can be used to manufacture a range of products and has no psychoactive effect.

The tribe says it had established a hemp crop and that it was wrongfully destroyed last month in a raid that included federal authorities.

Acting U.S. Attorney Gregory Haanstad has said the crop was more than just hemp, and that agents seized about 30,000 marijuana plants.