Wisconsin Tribes and Marijuana

Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded all Justice Department marijuana policies from the Obama-era on Jan 4, 2018. Change is coming and the following information will be updated as it happens.


The U.S. Justice Department issued a policy in 2014 regarding marijuana on tribal lands. It allows federally-recognized tribes in states with legalized marijuana to decide their own policies and self-regulate the growing and sales of marijuana on their reservations.

Cannabis is Illegal in Wisconsin

Industrial hemp is legal to grow in Wisconsin since November 2017. The recreational use and medical use of cannabis is illegal. The one medical exception is low-THC CBD oil which was legalized in 2014. It is tightly controlled for treatment of epilepsy and limited number of other conditions. Possession of recreational marijuana up to 10 grams is a civil fine of $256.50.

Wisconsin's Federally-Recognized Tribes

There are eleven federally-recognized tribes in Wisconsin. The DOJ marijuana policy on tribal reservations applies to these Wisconsin tribes. Each is federally recognized as sovereign by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the U.S. Interior Department.

Bad River Band of Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians
Forest County Potawatomi Community, Wisconsin
Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin
Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin
Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin
Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin
Oneida Nation
Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin
Sokaogon Chippewa Community, Wisconsin
St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin
Stockbridge Munsee Community, Wisconsin

For a complete list of Wisconsin tribes and their locations, see our page about Wisconsin Tribes.

Cannabis Opportunities for Wisconsin Tribes

Wisconsin tribes recognize the challenges and business opportunities of the cannabis industry, but most have not announced their interests or business plans.

 

St. Croix Chippewa Will Grow Hemp for CBD Oil

September 27, 2017

The St. Croix Chippewa Band is planning to cultive hemp on its reservation to produce cannabidiol, aka CBD oil. The Chippewa Band will convert a 200,000-square-foot building that was formerly a fish hatchery into a CBD production facility.

Wisconsin legalized low-THC CBD oil in 2014. In 2017 the state passed a new law that enables the tribe to produce low-THC CBD oil and avoid federal raids or other problems that have hit tribes like the Menominee. The new law also allows for the possession of marijuana-derived CBD oil.

 

Menominee Hemp Crop Raided by DEA

Oct 24, 2015

The Menominee Indian Tribe began cultivating hemp on their reservation in May 2015. They were producing low-THC CBD oil which Wisconsin legalized in 2014.

In Oct 2015 federal agents raided the reservation and seized over 30,000 hemp plants. The DEA said they found and seized marijuana plants. The tribe said it was an industrial hemp crop.

"I am deeply disappointed that the Obama administration has made the decision to utilize the full force of the DEA to raid our tribe. We were attempting to grow industrial hemp for research purposes in accordance with the farm bill," Besaw said. Gary Besaw, Chairmanof the Menominee Indian Tribe.

The Menominee Tribe sued for damages claiming it had acted lawfully, but the court rejected their case.