A licensed industrial hemp crop was destroyed by federal agents Friday on the land of the Menominee Indian Tribe in Wisconsin.
After legalizing the plant for research purposes last May, tribal leaders say they were targeted by the Obama administration for allegedly violating the 2014 Farm Bill.
Speaking with Fox 11 News, FBI agents confirmed they were assisting the DEA in removing the crop.
In a statement to the media, Tribal Chairman Gary Besaw accused the federal government of violating both the tribe’s sovereignty and its right to research the non-psychotropic plant.
“In May 2015, the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin Tribe legalized the growing of low THC non-psychotropic industrial hemp by Tribal licensees on its lands,” Besaw said. “Notice of this change in Tribal law was provided to the United States Attorney Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.”
“Today, Federal Agents improperly and unnecessarily entered the sovereign lands of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin and destroyed the Tribe’s industrial hemp crop.”
Besaw placed the blame squarely at the feet of the Obama administration for refusing to challenge the issue civilly in court.
“I am deeply disappointed that the Obama administration has made the decision to utilize the full force of the DEA to raid our Tribe…” Besaw added. “Instead, the Obama administration sent agents to destroy our crop while allowing recreational marijuana in Colorado.”
“I just wish the President would explain to tribes why we can’t grow industrial hemp like the states, and even more importantly, why we don’t deserve an opportunity to make our argument to a federal judge rather than having our community raided by the DEA?”
According to Besaw, the federal government’s actions greatly harm the economic outlook for the already-struggling tribe.
“What makes the actions taken today even more difficult to understand is that the federal government is very aware of the great unmet needs of Menominee,” Besaw said. “Menominee County ranks at the bottom of the state in poverty and health statistics.”