Failure to Hire a Regulator Leads to One-Year Delay in Hemp Plans
By Joe Morey
Although the LCO Tribal Governing Board (TGB) approved their Industrial Hemp Code on February 10, 2020, and submitted to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which approved the Code on May 27, the LCO Legal Department advised against moving forward with their hemp plans for this year. The plan was only days away from inception with seedlings set to be planted on June 15.
TGB member Tweed Shuman said Legal advised the TGB they couldn’t move forward because the Tribe’s Department of Agriculture, although approved in the Hemp Ordinance, hadn’t yet been established, nor had a Regulator been hired.
“We don’t have a regulator in place to be able to approve cultivation licenses under our code. That means that we may not engage in the cultivation of hemp under tribal law until we do so,” Dyllan Linehan, Tribal Attorney, explained to the TGB.
Shuman said the Tribe may have been in violation of federal, tribal and likely, state law if the Hemp seedlings were transported from Madison to the designated acreage on the LCO Reservation.
“We’ve lost another year for our hemp production plan. I’m very upset the ball got dropped on this preventing us from planting this year,” Shuman stated. “We had a 2-acre plot ready to go. We had the plants coming, the ground was prepared, soil tests were done and lime had already been applied.”
Linehan said several things have to happen before the Tribe picks up the seedlings or the Tribe’s actions and individuals involved could end up facing civil or criminal charges. Those first steps include the TGB creating the Department of Agriculture and providing a budget; hiring a Director (regulator) who handles applications and issues permits to cultivate; a cultivator application must be filled out and submitted to the Director and approval and a permit must be issued.
The Tribe’s Industrial Hemp Code created an LCO Agricultural Division under the LCO Conservation Department to serve as the arm of the Tribe that regulates hemp production and policies on lands within the jurisdiction of the Tribe. The policies established under the Code governs how persons will plant, cultivate, harvest, sample, test, process, transport, transfer, take possession of, sell, import, and export hemp on Tribal lands.