Judge denies South Dakota tribe’s request to grow hemp this year

The American Indian tribe that’s suing the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) over delayed hemp regulations will have to wait until the lawsuit is concluded or the agency approves its hemp production plan, a federal judge has ruled.

The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe requested a temporary restraining order against the USDA and a preliminary injunction to allow it to proceed with its hemp crop in 2019.

Federal Judge Karen Schrier denied the request in the U.S. District Court of South Dakota Southern Division last week, Sioux Falls TV station KSFY reported.

The agency said it planned to finalize rules in the fall, in time for the 2020 growing season.

But the tribe filed a lawsuit claiming that, under the 2018 Farm Bill, the USDA is required to approve plans within 60 days, regardless of whether regulations are in place.