The leader of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin says it won’t plant a new crop of industrial hemp until a federal judge resolves the tribe’s lawsuit against the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.
Chairwoman Joan Delabreau says the DEA raid last fall that destroyed the tribe’s first crop has cost the Menominee millions of dollars.
The Green Bay Press-Gazette reports she spoke after attorneys for both sides presented oral arguments in Green Bay on the DEA’s motion to dismiss the case.
Industrial hemp has tiny levels of THC, the active chemical in marijuana, but it has commercial uses from hemp oil for health and beauty products to hemp fiber.
The tribe wants to cultivate hemp as a way to boost the struggling economy on its reservation near Shawano.
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Some facts about hemp
• Hemp and marijuana are of the same plant species — Cannabis sativa — but the two plants are not bred and cultivated in the same way. The level of THC is much, much lower in hemp than in pot. Hemp can’t produce a high, but it can be used to make a handsome shirt or provide nutrition.
• Hemp stalks produce two types of fiber, according to Vote Hemp, a nonprofit advocacy organization. The outer bast fiber can be processed into long strands and the inner woody core can be processed into chips.
• The fiber is durable and makes for comfortable and colorfast textiles. It is used in composites or can replace plastics or fiberglass in molded products. The fiber also can be used to make building insulation or paper, while the inner core can be used to make animal bedding or nitrogen-absorbent fertilizer. The stalk even holds promise as alternative fuel.