FREMONT COUNTY — Eastern Shoshone Tribe’s General Council voted in September to approve a resolution to have a group examine legalizing medical marijuana and allowing hemp production, including the formulation of a plan to potentially vote on.
According to a Casper Star-Tribune report advocates for the measures say hemp and cannabis-related businesses or cultivation could help diversify the reservation economy while also offering an additional option to treat medical conditions.
“We’re trying to transition hemp and medical cannabis into Wyoming so our tribe can get financially stable,” said group member Bobbi Shongutsie.
The group, calling itself So-go-Beah Naht-Su’ in Shoshone, or Mother Earth and Medicine in English, is made up of several Eastern Shoshone community members who have emphasized that no plans are in place to cultivate marijuana for recreational use.
While illegal in Wyoming and at the federal level, the U.S. government in 2014 said it would treat tribes as states in marijuana enforcement, meaning federal authorities would generally not interfere with tribes that loosen cannabis laws.
And Eastern Shoshone Tribe isn’t the first tribe to consider initiatives regarding hemp or cannabis. The Yurok Tribe in California earlier this year passed an ordinance to develop regulations around hemp on tribal land. The St. Croix Chippewa Indians in Wisconsin have plans to grow hemp as well as manufacture CBD oil, and two Michigan tribes earlier this year voted to allow recreational use on tribal land.
If successful, the tribe would enter an industry which, according to trade publications could approach $1.8 billion dollars in sales by next year.
Information from trib.com
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