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Lac du Flambeau Tribe sees hemp growth, processing, sale as a potential for profits
LAC DU FLAMBEAU - The Lac du Flambeau Tribe thinks it can make money on a product growing from the ground and growing in popularity.

Last week, by a 116-13 tally, tribal voters approved opening the reservation to industrial hemp.

Hemp, a relative of marijuana with low amounts of THC, produces CBD oil, a popular health product.

The Tribe believes hemp growth, processing, and production could be profitable.

The new rules will strictly control how hemp is grown. But they leave room to make money while providing a product believed to have health benefits.

"We want to become part of it because now we have a viable industry entrance, but we're also making an impact overall for better [health] than what it was before," said Randy Soulier, the Chief Operating Officer of the Lac du Flambeau Business Development Corporation.

Patients say CBD oil, a hemp product, helps with pain, seizures, and anxiety.

The state of Wisconsin legalized hemp last year, and the federal Farm Bill removed it from the list of controlled substances.

"The cat's out of the bag," Soulier said. "The 2018 Farm Bill is now in law, now everybody's racing to the market.

The Business Development Corporation hopes to pursue hemp growth, processing, or sale soon.

It's waiting on Tribal Council and federal government approval.

"We want to make sure that we cover every detail we can from the seed to the finished consumption. However that looks, we want to make sure that we have regulation steps in place," Soulier said. "By setting up regulatory measures, you can tell the community, or tribal membership, that this is tested."

Other parts of the hemp plant have several uses, as well.

Story By: Ben Meyer

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