The Menominee Indian Tribe says that the Drug Enforcement Administration raided what it characterized as a legal hemp crop last Friday. DEA officials acknowledged the raid over the weekend, but claimed that it was 30,000 marijuana plants, not hemp plants, that were seized during the raid on 20 acres of tribal property.
Menominee Indian Tribe Chairman Gary Besaw said in a statement:
[pull_quote_center]I am deeply disappointed that the Obama administration has made the decision to utilize the full force of the DEA to raid our Tribe. We were attempting to grow industrial hemp for research purposes in accordance with the Farm Bill. We offered to take any differences in the interpretation of the Farm Bill to federal court. Instead, the Obama administration sent agents to destroy our crop while allowing recreational marijuana in Colorado. I just wish the President would explain to tribes why we can’t grow industrial hemp like the states, and even more importantly, why we don’t deserve an opportunity to make our argument to a federal judge rather than having our community raided by the DEA?[/pull_quote_center]
DEA officials asserted that marijuana was being grown on the premises by non-tribe members from Colorado. CBS 58 Milwaukee pointed out the fact that no arrests were made during the raid and “the investigation is ongoing.”
The Menominee Tribe had reportedly been involved in face-to-face negotiations with the DEA prior to the raid and had offered to destroy some hemp strands from the crop which had been identified as problematic under the Farm Bill’s regulations.
North American Industrial Hemp Council founder Erwin Sholts told Fox 11 News, “There is always a little bit of THC [in hemp] because the one flower may in the harvesting process spill some THC onto the stalk and so on, but 3/10 of 1 percent is a general level of THC in industrial hemp and you can’t make a drug out of it.”
The Menominee Indian Tribe’s statement on the raid said:
[pull_quote_center]In May 2015, the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin legalized the growing of low THC non-psychotropic industrial hemp by Tribal licensees on its lands. Notice of this change in Tribal law was provided to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. This action was intended to comply with Congress’ actions in 2014 Farm Bill which recognizing [sic] a distinction between marijuana and industrial hemp that created an exception to the Controlled Substance Act to allow for growth, cultivation and the study of industrial hemp in certain circumstances. The Tribe’s industrial hemp crop was always intended to be a legal crop as allowed by the 2014 Farm Bill.[/pull_quote_center]