Wyoming Tribe Studies Hemp to Boost Economy

An Eastern Shoshone tribe in Wyoming is looking for ways to boost its hemp and medical marijuana economy in the Wind River Reservation in addition to looking for ways to use these substances to treat a variety of illnesses. Most tribes in Wyoming view medical marijuana and hemp as a lucrative venture.

Nearing the end of September, the General Council in the Eastern Shoshone tribe voted in a resolution allowing a group to examine the legalization of medical marijuana and hemp production. The group was also supposed to come up with a proposal that could be voted on.

Bobbi Shongutsie, who is a member of the group, said that some of the benefits of legalizing medical marijuana and hemp production were job creation and the ability to heal the members of their communities. Shongutsie further noted that the group is trying to get their tribe in a state of financial stability by introducing hemp and medical marijuana into their community.

The group is referred to as Sogo-Beah Naht-Su’ or Mother Earth and Medicine, and it is made up of members from the Eastern Shoshone community. On Wednesday, the members of the group said that they do not plan on advocating for the legalization of adult-use marijuana.

Other tribes that have raised initiatives around hemp or marijuana include the Yurok Tribe in California, which passed an ordinance earlier this year to develop rules around hemp cultivation on tribal land. Similarly, the St. Croix Chippewa Indians in Wisconsin plan on growing hemp for CBD extraction and some other two tribes in Michigan approved cultivation of recreational marijuana on tribal land.

Hemp is a species of cannabis that contains a small trace of THC, which is the psychoactive compound of cannabis responsible for inducing a high.

Although marijuana is illegal in Wyoming, back in 2014, the U.S. government said that it would treat tribes as states by allowing them to develop their own cannabis laws, which would not be interfered with by the federal authorities.

Once the group is successful, the Eastern Shoshone tribe could grow hemp for the production of products such as clothing, food, paper, bioplastics, rope, textiles, shoes, insulation, and biofuel.

CDB (cannabidiol) could be extracted from both hemp and marijuana to treat seizures and other medical ailments.

People looking to grow hemp in Wyoming were previously blocked by bureaucratic issues because the 2014 farm bill allowed people to cultivate hemp for research purposes only. However, the 2018 Farm bill approved the industrial production of hemp, which is regulated by the USDA. Before the tribes can grow hemp, they must submit their plans to the USDA for approval.

The USDA has approved a plan allowing Wyoming growers to cultivate hemp in the 2020 growing season. However, there are still some questions surrounding hemp production in the Indian Country, such as interstate commerce protection, jurisdiction, and tribal territory definition.

On Wednesday, the Mother Earth and Medicine group said that their goal is to advocate, respect, and encourage the tribe’s power to execute and stimulate the tribe’s independence.

Permitting the people to start medical marijuana and hemp businesses will help the community to stop relying on the energy industry for revenue to promote sustainable business. They also said the majority of the tribal members are composed of the younger generation, and this gives them hope of an exciting career.

The group is supposed to present their research and proposal at the next General Council meeting, which could be held in January.

Analysts agree that bringing the tribal communities on board to participate in the hemp industry answers the prayer of industry players like Green Hygienics Holdings Inc. (OTCQB: GRYN) and Hemptown USA who would like to see all sections of society benefiting from hemp.

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