One rapidly-growing, but somewhat overlooked sector of the domestic hemp industry is Native American tribes across the U.S. looking to grow or process the plant, or both. At last count, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) website, more than 20 Native American tribes have had their hemp production plans approved by the federal government. Hemp plans from an additional 11 tribes are under review by the agency.
In early May, the USDA announced it had accepted hemp plans from five more tribes: the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida, the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, Rosebud Sioux Tribe, and the Pala Band of Mission Indians. These tribes, along with a growing number of states, have had their hemp programs approved as part of an ongoing review by the USDA, which began when the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp and its derivatives nationally.