Wisconsin tribe next to join hemp business via new CBD law

(Note: This story was updated from an earlier version to explain Wisconsin’s CBD law.)

A Native American tribe in Wisconsin has voted to produce hemp-derived cannabidiol, saying a new CBD law in the state will enable it to avoid federal raids and road bumps that have beleaguered other tribes getting into the cannabis industry.

The vote last week by the St. Croix Chippewa – a tribe in northwestern Wisconsin that’s also called the St. Croix Band – sets up a CBD production facility in a former fish hatchery on tribal land. The facility has 200,000 square feet of usable space.

Hemp production will begin this fall, Brad Bartlett, the tribe’s lawyer, told Marijuana Business Daily.

The Chippewa are trying to avoid the fate of another Wisconsin tribe, the Menominee, which tried to grow industrial hemp in 2015 only to have federal agents seize roughly 30,000 plants from its reservation near Shawano.

Those plants were found to contain too much THC to qualify as hemp, and the tribe’s lawsuit challenging the raid was dismissed.

Bartlett said Wisconsin’s new CBD law gives the St. Croix Band the ability to grow and distribute CBD oil.

Wisconsin doesn’t allow industrial hemp production, but the law signed by Gov. Scott Walker in April allows the possession of marijuana-derived CBD oil and expands the medical conditions for which it can be used beyond “seizure disorders.”

Hopes for a Native American cannabis industry were fanned in 2014, after the U.S. Department of Justice issued a memo that seemed to grant tribes the go-ahead to grow and sell marijuana as long as certain guidelines were followed.