21 June 2016
The article is entitled
In December 2014, the Department of Justice stated it would not prosecute federal laws regulating the growing or selling of marijuana on tribal lands, even in states where cannabis is illegal. Monty Wilkinson, Director for the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, authored the statement, and it seemed to give Tribes the opportunity to become cannabis players because of their unique sovereign status. Though the Wilkinson Statement did not constitute a change of laws or a repeal of the federal Controlled Substances Act, most of what it means is that the eight enforcement priorities outlined in the Cole Memo, in addition to consultation with tribal leaders, would guide U.S. Attorneys’ enforcement of federal marijuana laws on tribal lands.
However, as noted in my blog post, Is Tribal Cannabis Still Possible, the Feds haven’t really taken the Wilkinson Statement to heart when it comes to tribes that (1) have tried to engage in some aspect of the cannabis industry without entering into a compact with the states; and that (2) are not located in states with some form of robustly regulated marijuana laws.
Cue the Menominee raid of October 2015 and the Tribe’s subsequent lawsuit against the DOJ and DEA.
In late October 2015, the federal government raided a grow belonging to the Menominee Tribe in Wisconsin and seized some 30,000 cannabis plants. This grow was allegedly made up of only industrial hemp and not marijuana plants capable of producing active THC. Notably, the Tribe legalized hemp cultivation but the State of Wisconsin has no such law. Menominee Tribal leaders maintained that “the plants were intended for lawful research into growing industrial hemp, which is processed and utilized for fiber, food and oil and is distinguishable from marijuana by its lower levels of the high-inducing compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).” Though federal law prohibits cultivating hemp without a DEA permit, the Menominee were cultivating their hemp in cooperation with the College of the Menominee Nation, allegedly in line with the federal Farm Bill of 2014.
Full article at http://abovethelaw.com/2016/06/menominee-hemp-lawsuit-another-federal-knock-against-tribal-cannabis/?utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=30830432&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-8Fv28quY5FiDGsfi5PYtx6ELjed2WUARLE8GyaTEynpGPGVw_ONzm-7S8-xBF0Pb2avUaEH0kCth32_AGnyt8OzgEeOw&_hsmi=30830432