Marijuana Business Daily first reported plans by Wisconsin’s St. Croix Chippewa Tribe to produce CBD-rich hemp plants and distribute cannabidiol on Sept. 27. Cannabadger has obtained a copy of a press release from the tribe announcing their decision to move forward, titled, “American Indian Tribe Adopts Comprehensive Cannabidiol Control Program and Announces Plan to Open Cannabidiol Business in State Where Cannabidiol is Legal.”
The release, datelined Webster, Wisconsin, states the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin “have adopted a comprehensive control program for cannabidiol (or “CBD”), a hemp extract widely recognized for it’s medicinal properties and treatment of childhood epilepsy.”
Elmer J. Emery, of the St. Croix Tribal Council is quoted in saying, “Governor Walker has shown strong leadership on medical cannabidiol issues at the State level. The control program adopted by St. Croix allows the Tribe to move forward with production and distribution of cannabidiol on tribal lands in Wisconsin. It also authorizes the Tribe to create a modern tribally owned and operated cannabidiol business which will not only provide medical cannabidiol to families and individuals in need, but also much needed jobs and industry in a county with one of the highest unemployment rates in the State.”
Carmen Bugg, a tribal elder with a relative that suffers from a rare form of epilepsy, said, “St. Croix’s actions represent another major milestone in giving parents and children access to a potentially lifesaving treatment. Families need a safe, reliable distributor of cannabidiol and the Tribe’s willingness to serve in that capacity is absolutely critical right now.”
The plan to produce CBD had previously been discussed in the August 2016 edition of the monthly tribal newsletter, The Vision, in an article titled, “Gambling On Weed”
In the newsletter article, Elmer Emery said, “I got attorneys hired from Colorado and Washington, D.C. I got lobbyists from Oregon and Washington. As a sovereign nation we have a right to provide for our membership. We are a sovereign nation. We could say we are doing this (CBD oil) and let’s go into litigation. And we’d spend a ****load of money doing it. Our war chest is $5 million. But if we are going to do it, I want to do it the right way, in cooperation with the county and health and human services. So, we welcome an oversight board … I want to be transparent in everything I do,” Emery said. “This is the only plan that I can see that can recoup the $36 million (invested in the fish hatchery venture). If my plan happens, gaming will be secondary to CBD oil.”
The articles goes on to quote John Vaudreuil, then the U.S. district attorney for western Wisconsin, stating that “Growing marijuana, distributing marijuana and manufacturing marijuana is against the law. There is no exception in the state of Wisconsin.” Vaudreuil, an Obama appointee, resigned in March 2017. In April 2017, Gov. Scott Walker signed 2017 Wisconsin Act 4 into law. The Act does not authorize production or distribution of CBD in Wisconsin.
Obviously, the St. Croix would not have gone forward with this project without deep consultation with state and federal officials and the belief they will prevail if it goes to litigation.
This is a developing story.