5 More Tribal Hemp Plans Receive Federal Go-Ahead

Five Tribal hemp proposals got the federal green light Thursday. The newly approved plans include those of the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida, the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes in western Oklahoma, Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, and the Pala Band of Mission Indians in southern California. 

Along with those five Tribes, Massachusetts became the latest state to have its plan be U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) accepted. 

That raises the number of Tribal approvals to 25, and state to 17.

With the 2018 U.S. farm bill, industrial hemp was legalized, also authorizing federally recognized Tribes to develop their own regulatory plans for the production of hemp. All Tribal and state plans must go through an approval process by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as required under the 2018 law.

All 25 Tribes to get the USDA stamp of approval so far include (listed in the same order as the USDA website):

  • Blackfeet Nation
  • Cayuga Nation
  • Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes
  • Colorado River Indian Tribes
  • Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs
  • Flandreau Santee Sioux
  • Fort Belknap Indian Community
  • Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska
  • La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indians
  • Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida
  • Oglala Sioux Tribe
  • Otoe-Missouria Tribe
  • Pala Band of Mission Indians
  • Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation
  • Pueblo of Picuris Tribe
  • Rosebud Sioux Tribe
  • Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa
  • Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians
  • Santee Sioux Nation
  • Seneca Nation
  • Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate
  • Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
  • Turtle Mt. Band of Chippewa Indians
  • Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska
  • Yurok Tribe

Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida

The Miccosukee Tribe has three reservation areas in South Florida, along Tamiami Trail, Alligator Alley and Krome Avenue.

Miccosukee Tribal Chairman Billy Cypress wrote with the February 11, 2020, submission of the Tribe’s hemp plan to the USDA: 

“…The Miccosukee Tribe possesses the required resources and personnel necessary to implement the Hemp Plan. The Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida engages in several businesses on its lands and boasts a land mass sufficient for any proposed hemp endeavor. The Miccosukee Tribe is a 638 contracting Tribe and is responsible for administering all government programs for its members. Those programs include a fully functioning police force to provide enforcement of the Plan and ensure compliance by any licensee.”

Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska

Hemp fields started taking root on the Winnebago Reservation in summer 2019, shortly after Gov. Pete Ricketts signed the Nebraska Hemp Farming Act (LB657) into law May 30, 2019. 

Nebraska received 176 applications to grow hemp last year. Ho-Chunk Farms, owned by the Winnebago Tribe’s economic development corporation, was among the 10 businesses and organizations in Nebraska awarded a state license to start hemp farming in 2019. 

“This is a young industry with a lot of potential,” said Aaron LaPointe, business manager of Ho-Chunk Farms. “The 2019 season will be very small scale at 5.5 acres total. The data we collect during this pilot program gives us a head start for next year.”

READ MORE: Ho-Chunk Farms to Grow Hemp Through Nebraska Pilot Program 

Now, with the USDA nod for the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska to regulate its own hemp production, hemp farming and production can kick into higher gear, creating more industry jobs and growth opportunities. 

Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes 

Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes’ industrial hemp plan maps out the creation of a Cannabis Commission under its Cheyenne and Arapaho Industrial Hemp Agricultural Act. 

“Any individual, agency, association, branch, corporation, estate, group, partnership, or other entity or organization having legal rights and responsibilities located within the jurisdiction of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes wishing to engage in industrial hemp growth and cultivation authorized under the Cheyenne and Arapaho Industrial Hemp Agricultural Act shall apply to the Cheyenne and Arapaho Cannabis Commission for a license,” states the Tribes’ application. 

Rosebud Sioux Tribe 

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe’s final version of a Tribal Agricultural Hemp Code was submitted April 16, 2020, and has received USDA approval. 

The Rosebud Tribe joins its fellow South Dakota-based Tribes: the Flandreau Santee Sioux and Oglala Sioux, who got USDA approval for their hemp regulatory plans earlier this year. 

A hardy crop, hemp grows well on the Northern Plains region. It’s also a “healthy crop” requiring low maintenance and pesticides, which benefits the environment, said Heather Dawn Thompson, an attorney who worked with a coalition of dozens of Tribes, including several in South Dakota, on writing hemp ordinances and hemp plans to submit to the USDA. 

Back in November 2019, Michael LaPointe, economic development specialist for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, told the Argus Leader that the Tribe has about 100,000 potential acres for hemp, and, considering cost and profit estimates for hemp, the Tribe has a profit potential of $25 million from the crop. The Tribe’s long-term goals entail creating “a processing facility where hemp could be turned into textiles, clothing, insulation, paper, ‘Hempcrete,’ particle board, and auto and boat parts.”

Pala Band of Mission Indians

The Pala Band of Mission Indians is located in northern San Diego County. The majority of the 918 enrolled Tribal members live on a 12,000-acre reservation established for Cupeño and Luiseño Indians. 

The Tribe’s hemp plan certifies that it possesses the resources and personnel to carry out its hemp regulations. An executive committee will oversee: licensing of applicants, permitting locations where hemp is authorized, reporting and recordkeeping, procedures for hemp sampling, THC testing, and disposal actions as well as pesticide use and Prohibited products or activities. The executive committee will also enforce penalties and remedies.

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