By JOSEPH MARTIN
ONE FEATHER STAFF
At its Feb. 5 Budget Council session, Tribal Council approved a resolution to contract a feasibility study for hemp and cannabis opportunities. The resolution authorizes the use of Hempleton Investment Group to study the feasibility for the tribe to engage in the markets for hemp and cannabis products. This action follows up a resolution passed last October to authorize a feasibility study.
Last December, President Trump signed the Farm Bill, which legalized hemp at the federal level. Hemp, while related to marijuana, lacks the same level of the psychoactive chemical of THC. Hemp advocates have long touted uses for the plant from paper and clothing to building materials. It can also be harvested for cannabidiol, which some claim has several health benefits.
Wolftown Rep. Jeremy Wilson has been Council’s main proponent for hemp and submitted the resolution to authorize Hempleton to conduct its studies. He said cannabis has shown to have a positive impact, and the tribe needs to develop a plan. He thinks it’s a good way to tackle the Tribe’s opioid issues and other conditions that cannabidiol could treat. “There’s no real con to it. It’s just a matter of education,” he said. He also suggested it for economic diversification.
Several tribes already are engaged in the industry, and in places where medical or recreational marijuana is legal, tribes, like the Puyallups in Washington, have been taking part in that industry.
The resolution passed by all present. Yellowhill Rep. Tom Wahnetah and Wolftown Rep. Bo Crowe were absent. Crowe, who was out because of the flu, voted against the resolution passed in 2018. He said that a study had already been done. “I don’t think it’s really a big deal with the study,” Crowe said. However, before bringing something like this in, Crowe wants to see a referendum vote.
The Tribe would be paying for Hempleton’s work out of the general fund, and the amount is not to exceed $60,000. Wilson said that hemp and cannabidiol have been stigmatized, and he hopes o educate the public. “It’ll be the tribe and Hempleton working together.” Hempleton is expected to have completed the study by June, according to the resolution.