Menominee Tribe considers growing marijuana to help boost revenue

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KENOSHA (WITI) -- A Kenosha casino was not in the cards for the Menominee Tribe. Now, they all say options are on the table -- including growing marijuana.

It is one of several money making options the tribe is now exploring. Tribal leaders say they are researching if marijuana could grow their economy.

It is a controversial proposal the Menominee Tribe says is one way to help its waning economy. It's a possible plan to start growing marijuana.

Friday, February 20th, the former Tribal Chairman, Craig Corn, tweeted out:

The current Tribal Chairman, Gary Besaw, says everything is still in the very early stages.

"We're busy, but we're looking at all options available for revenue for our people," said Besaw.

The possibility was put forward after Governor Scott Walker rejected a plan for a Kenosha casino.

"Governor Walker failed the people of Wisconsin terribly and he failed the Menominee Nation," said Besaw.

"It's going to be very difficult to overcome the political, legal and social issues with this plan," said Indian Law Attorney and former Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, Carl Artman.

Artman says there are many obstacles moving ahead.

"This is going to be many many years before something like this could get approved," said Artman.

The U.S. Department of Justice has said it would not prevent tribes from growing or selling marijuana on tribal land.

"Once you leave the jurisdiction of the tribe, you're going to be running headlong into the jurisdiction of state and local areas," said Artman.

Not only legal gray areas, but social hurdles as well.

"You're going to fly in the face of decades worth of substance abuse and prevention issues," said Artman.

The tribe says nothing is set in stone. And while there are still many questions, the chairman is confident the tribe will find some way to escape poverty.

"We need to start looking at how we can better take care of our children and our sick and our elderly," said Besaw.

The tribal chairman says there are at least 5 additional revenue generating options on the table, but he would not elaborate beyond that.

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