MADISON, Wis. (AP) – The Menominee Nation filed a lawsuit Wednesday asking a federal judge to clarify that the tribe has a right to grow industrial hemp – a crop related to marijuana – on its Wisconsin reservation.
The lawsuit comes after federal and state agents seized about 30,000 hemp plants the tribe was growing on its reservation in late October. According to court documents, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration believed the hemp contained marijuana and the operation was being managed by a Colorado man who runs a cannabis growing consulting firm.
The lawsuit, filed in Milwaukee against the two federal agencies, asks a judge to declare that the tribe has the right to grow hemp under the 2014 Farm Bill. That bill allows colleges or states to grow industrial hemp –defined as a cannabis plant that contains no more than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC – the chemical in marijuana that causes psychotropic effects.