USDA Approves Three More Tribes’ Hemp Plans

On Thursday, plans for hemp production put forth by the Otoe-Missouria Tribe, the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation and the Santee Sioux Nation were approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) under the nation’s Domestic Hemp Production Program.

These latest approvals bring the total number of federally approved Tribal plans to 10. With the hemp boom continuing to gain momentum, 16 additional Tribal plans are still under review. 

The Santee Sioux, whose land sits in northern Nebraska, follow their fellow Santee Nation, the South Dakota-situated Flandreau Santee Sioux, who won USDA approval in December.

READ MORE: USDA Greenlights Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe’s Hemp Production Plan

A hemp production plan outlines how the Tribe will run its hemp farming business. Key topics covered include requirements for licensing of farmers, prescriptions for record-keeping, plant sampling and testing, procedures for destroying non-compliant plants (those that are found to have a level of THC over the limit), and descriptions of plan violations. Procedures and requirements for inspection, reporting, and information sharing with the USDA are also included in a plan. 

(As opposed to marijuana, hemp does not contain THC — the chemical component that causes a person to become “high” — and is used for a number of commercial purposes, including paper, clothing, food, medicine and fuel, and accounts for nearly $1 billion in annual revenues. Hemp remains controversial, because it’s nearly impossible to distinguish from marijuana plants — which has been an ongoing dispute with law enforcement and regulatory agencies determined to ensure the integrity of crops by those producing it.)

READ MORE: Tribes Look to Cannabis and Hemp Industries for New Revenue Streams

Tribes interested in seeking USDA approval for hemp production may want to consult the three Tribes’ successful proposals, which can be found online:

Additional plans, as well as the status of all submitted plans, can be found at the USDA Status page.

“This is the first step in a long process to diversify our farm program and enter a new industry with many benefits for our Nation and the land,” said Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation Chairman Joseph Rupnick.

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