The St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin are suing state Attorney General Brad Schimel over whether the tribe has the authority to grow hemp for CBD production – a move blocked by Schimel, Wisconsin Public Radio reports. The tribe argues that while the federal Public 280 federal law gives states authority over criminal matters on reservations, hemp and CBD productions are civil matters that fall under the jurisdiction of the tribe.

The CBD program was adopted by the tribe last September as a means to create jobs and industry in the northwestern Wisconsin county which has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state, Elmer J. Emery, member of the St. Croix Tribal Council wrote in the ordinance creating the program.

Jeff Cormell, the tribe’s general counsel told WPR that the tribe is “not proposing anything illegal” under state law. He indicated that the tribe has spent $3 million on the project so far, which officials expect would create 15 full-time jobs.

“On the one end, you’re going to be cultivating hemp, which is now legal under state law. On the other end, you’re going to have processing of CBD, which possession of is legal under state law.” – Cormell to WPR

Johnny Koremenos, a Wisconsin Department of Justice spokesman, told WPR that they believe “any jurisdictional challenge to the application of Wisconsin’s criminal code on tribal lands will fail” but declined to comment further on the lawsuit.

Wisconsin law allows individuals with a doctor’s approval to possess CBD; however, there is no clearly defined means to produce it.

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