GREEN BAY — A judge has
dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Menominee Indian Tribe of
Wisconsin over a federal raid of its industrial hemp crop
grown on tribal land.
Last November, the tribe
filed a lawsuit against the Drug Enforcement
Administration and the Department of Justice after the
agencies destroyed the tribe's hemp crop grown on its
reservation in northeastern Wisconsin.
Industrial hemp has low
levels of THC, the active chemical in marijuana, but it
has multiple commercial uses, including its oil for health
and beauty products and hemp fiber for building materials.
The tribe wants to look into cultivating hemp as a way to
boost its struggling economy.
Under federal law, hemp can
be cultivated as part of research projects in states that
have adopted laws permitting such studies.
The Department of Justice
contended that the crop was illegal because Wisconsin law
doesn't permit growing hemp for any purpose. The Menominee
Indian Tribe of Wisconsin argued that it was exempt from
the Wisconsin law banning the crop and that it should have
the right under the Farm Bill to cultivate industrial hemp
in the same manner as other states, including Kentucky and
U.S. District Judge William
Griesbach ultimately decided that the exemption does not
apply because the tribe is located in Wisconsin. He
dismissed the tribe's request for a pre-emptive ruling
that its industrial hemp crop was being legally grown and
federal agents could not seize it.
Federal agents in October
seized about 30,000 marijuana plants from the tribe's
reservation near Shawano.