Pubdate: Fri, 19 May 2006
Source: Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO)
Copyright: 2006, Denver Publishing Co.
Author: Carson Walker, Associated Press
Bookmark: (Hemp)


Federal Court Rules Against Indians Who Planted Crops

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - An American Indian treaty and United States law 
do not allow for the cultivation of industrial hemp on the Pine Ridge 
Indian Reservation, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

Alex White Plume, vice president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, and 
members of his family planted hemp on their property, but it was cut 
down and confiscated by federal agents.

Industrial hemp is related to marijuana and is used to make rope and 
other products. It has only a trace of the drug in marijuana, but it 
is illegal to grow hemp in the United States.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said it empathized with the 
White Plumes but concluded their enterprise was illegal.

"We are not unmindful of the challenges faced by members of the Tribe 
to engage in sustainable farming on federal trust lands . . .

"And we do not doubt that there are a countless number of beneficial 
products which utilize hemp in some fashion. Nor do we ignore the 
burdens imposed by a DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) registration 
necessary to grow hemp legally," justices wrote. "But these are 
policy arguments better suited for the congressional hearing room 
than the courtroom."

During oral arguments in December in St. Louis, the White Plumes' 
lawyer asked the appeals court to return the matter to a lower court 
to consider the legality of their crop.
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman