Minnesota tribe entering the hemp business

At least one Native American tribe – on the White Earth reservation in northwestern Minnesota – has decided to take a leap and get into the hemp business.

The tribe has spent $100,000 on just a few acres of the crop, according to Minnesota Public Radio, but is hoping the return on its investment will be enough to bolster the reservation’s economy.

It’s one of many tribes that developed an interest in the cannabis business after the Department of Justice issued a memo in 2014 that appeared to give Native Americans the go-ahead to grow and sell both marijuana and hemp on their lands.

But a lot of those business plans fell through in the ensuing years, and some tribes focused on marijuana’s non-psychoactive cousin.

So White Earth and 41 other applicants took advantage of a state hemp pilot program, Minnesota Public Radio reported.

The tribe is already growing five varieties of hemp and contemplating the purchase of an industrial press with which to produce hemp oil.