Law | National

Menominee Nation considers options after losing hemp lawsuit

The College of the Menominee Nation in Keshena, Wisconsin. Photo from Facebook

The Menominee Nation of Wisconsin is weighing its options after losing a hemp grow lawsuit.

The lawsuit cited a provision in the 2014 Farm Bill that allows higher-education institutions to cultivate the plant in states where it is legal. The College of the Menominee Nation was doing just that pursuant to tribal law.

But Judge William Griesbach said the tribe is not considered a "state" for purposes of the law. And since Wisconsin has not legalized hemp cultivation, the tribe cannot claim a right to grow the plant, he determined.

"The tribe is disappointed with this recent setback that challenges our sovereignty as a tribal nation and inhibits our ability to pursue research initiatives exploring the viability of this versatile and sustainable crop, Chairwoman Joan Delabreau said in a statement on Tuesday. "The tribe is currently reviewing the decision to determine what options it may or may not pursue."

The tribe sued after Drug Enforcement Agency destroyed its hemp crops last October. No one has been prosecuted in connection with the activity but federal authorities raised concerns about the presence of a non-Indian cannabis expert on the reservation.

Get the Story:
Tribe responds to hemp lawsuit dismissal (WBAY 5/24)
Sorry, not in Wisconsin. Judge rejects Menominee’s hemp argument (AP 5/24)
Judge dismisses Menominee Indian Tribe's lawsuit over hemp raid (Fox 11 News 5/24)
Judge dismisses Menominee tribe's lawsuit over hemp raid (The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 5/23)

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