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St. Croix Chippewa Ready To Grow Hemp In Wisconsin

Ron Strider

Well-Known Member
A Wisconsin tribe is set to grow hemp in hopes of extracting oil from the plant that could help treat seizures and other health problems, despite uncertainty over its legality.

The St. Croix Chippewa plan to begin production at the end of the month, the Wisconsin State Journal reported .

Parents of children who suffer seizures contend cannabidiol oil, a hemp extract, can help ease symptoms.

The oil doesn't cause a high because it contains much less THC, marijuana's active ingredient that creates the psychoactive effect, but it's illegal to produce or sell in Wisconsin. Gov. Scott Walker, however, signed a bill in April that makes possession legal with a doctor's certification.

The St. Croix Chippewa argue that since the state has chosen to regulate the oil it can't enforce a production prohibition on tribal lands because of a federal law that limits how states can enforce criminal law on reservations.

Wisconsin Department of Justice spokesman Johnny Koremenos declined to comment on the state's position on the matter.

The Burnett County Board of Supervisors supports the tribe's plan, board chair Don Taylor said in a letter last week.

"Families need a safe, reliable distributor of cannabidiol and the tribe's willingness to serve in that capacity is absolutely critical right now," tribal council member Elmer Emery said.

The operation will provide jobs to a county with high unemployment rates, Emery said. The facility will initially employ about 15 workers.

The tribe plans to spend about $1.2 million on startup costs, said Jeff Cormell, the tribe's lawyer. Many tribes are considering growing hemp or marijuana to offset declines in casino revenue, he said.

"We're very excited about the opportunity to provide this medicine," Cormell said. "It's not just a business decision. It's about families, it's about health care."

Hemp can also be used to produce rope, building materials, body products, biodiesel and nutritional supplements.



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