Native Sun News: Alex White Plume weighs next move on hemp

Alex White Plume sits on the back steps of his house near Manderson, S.D., on Tuesday, June 26, 2007, near some hemp plants that grew from seeds knocked off plants confiscated by federal drug agents. File photo courtesy The Associated Press

‘Wasu, growing the seed’
White Plume wins victory for Indian Country
By Ernestine Chasing Hawk
Native Sun News Editor

RAPID CITY –– Last year when two former U.S. Attorney’s, Timothy Purdon (N.D.) and Brendon Johnson (S.D.) left the U.S. Attorney General’s office to join Robins Kaplan’s American Indian law and policy group, they vowed to help bring a measure of justice to Indian Country.

True to their word, one of the first cases the law firm took on, pro bono, was that of Alex and Percy White Plume and their fight against a 2004 permanent injunction that barred them from cultivating non-drug industrial hemp, which at the time was not distinguished from marijuana by the U.S. government.

Robins and Kaplan scored a partial victory for Indian Country last week when U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Viken vacated the permanent injunction and overturned four federal counts against the White Plume’s for growing, cultivating, harvesting and traveling with marijuana and one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana.

The ruling however does not permit the White Plume’s to cultivate industrial hemp and does not resolve whether it is legal under the Farm Bill to grow industrial hemp on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation although the Oglala Sioux Tribe legalized it back in 1998.

Read the rest of the story on the all new Native Sun News website: 'Wasu, growing the seed’

(Contact Ernestine Chasing Hawk at

Copyright permission Native Sun News

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