Sioux vs. DEA, Round Two 

††Sioux vs. DEA, Round Two 

Posted by FoM on August 29, 2001 at 13:31:54 PT
By Emily Huber†
Source: Mother Jones †

Federal agents have destroyed Alex White Plume's industrial hemp crop for the second year running. But the courts may soon decide whether Native Americans can grow THC-free cannabis. For the second year in a row, the War on Drugs has come to the Pine Ridge Sioux Indian reservation. On the morning of July 30, federal agents arrived at tribal member Alex White Plume's farm outside Manderson, South Dakota, cutting down and hauling away three acres of industrial hemp. 
At least this time it was all very civil -- unlike the day, in August of last year, when 36 heavily armed agents from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the US Marshal's office surprised White Plume and his family with an early morning raid, seizing more than 3600 hemp plants. See "The Drug War Comes to the Rez." -- This time, agents arrived at a scheduled 8 a.m., shook hands with White Plume, and went to work. "They were real kind," White Plume told reporters. "They were the nicest police officers I've ever seen." White Plume's sister made coffee for everyone, and someone brought donuts. White Plume had agreed in advance not to resist the agents, in exchange for their not filing criminal charges against him. The oddly amicable arrangement grew out of the ongoing legal debate over the complicated intersection of tribal rights and federal drug laws that White Plume's hemp farming has raised. White Plume, along with the Oglala Sioux tribal government, wants to grow hemp as an agricultural commodity that could give a needed economic boost to the impoverished reservation. Federal law, however, draws no distinction between hemp and marijuana, even though hemp contains almost no THC, the psychoactive chemical found in its better-known cousin. Growing either is illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970. The Oglala Sioux maintain that their right to cultivate whatever crops they choose is enshrined in an 1868 treaty with the US government, and that White Plume's crops are specifically sanctioned under a 1998 tribal ordinance that permits hemp growing. The tribal law sets industrial hemp apart from marijuana, and places a limit on the crop's THC content. The Bureau of Indian Affairs tested White Plume's hemp last year and found only trace elements of THC. "We regard the enforcement of our hemp ordinance and prosecution of our marijuana laws as tribal matters," Oglala Sioux Tribe President Yellow Bird Steele wrote in a July 18 letter to US Attorney for South Dakota Michelle Tapken. "I respectfully request that you direct the law enforcement agencies under your authority to refrain from further contact with our tribal members regarding the cultivation of industrial hemp." White Plume, meanwhile, is preparing a lawsuit aimed at establishing his right to grow hemp based on the 1868 treaty. But the suit wasn't ready in time for the August harvest, and federal authorities let it be known that if the hemp stayed put, they would seek a criminal prosecution, says White Plume's lawyer, Bruce Ellison. White Plume had grown enough hemp to earn as much as life in prison, so he and Ellison negotiated the agreement with Tapken. The feds, explains Ellison, "are not particularly excited about prosecuting someone facing so many years in prison" for such an innocuous crime, Ellison says. "It creates a can of worms for the federal government." Tapken's office declined to comment on this year's raid or the agreement. "We didn't back down in any way," White Plume says. "We just allowed it to be pulled because we need time to strategize. We're not going to give up." White Plume says he'll plant again next April, if he can come up with the seeds. According to Ellison, the lawsuit will be ready to file in time for next year's planting. For now, White Plume's legal problems are overshadowed by financial ones. Before the raid, he says, a buyer had agreed to purchase his harvest for $250 a bale. "We really needed to make some money on it this year," White Plume says. "Now I'm just counting my horses -- I'm getting ready to sell some more. I hate doing that." "We're just trying to make it," White Plume says. "We're not trying to do anything criminal." Source: Mother Jones (US)Author: Emily HuberPublished: August 29, 2001Copyright: 2001 Foundation for National ProgressContact: backtalk motherjones.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:FTE's Hemp Links Plumes Relinquish Hemp Crop Grower Defiant After Crop Taken Drug War Comes To The Rez

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Comment #15 posted by Nativeamber on August 31, 2001 at 08:14:37 PT
enough is enough!!!!!
It really is a shame that the government can get away with anything and everything. Industrial hemp has the abiltiy to be an abundent resource. Many things can and are made by this plant: paper, clothing, jewelry, also the oils from this plant can be used to make lotions, shampoos & conditioners as well as chap stick. It's an even further shame that the government spends so much time and money to destroy ANY Native American's livelihood!!! When will this shamefullness cease to exist? It is an atrocity that after all these years the government is still able to destroy what little is left of the Native Americans' Rights. Is there not one decent government offcial who would stand up for this man and say enough is enough??? 
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Comment #14 posted by bill on August 30, 2001 at 00:27:27 PT:
If anyone really cares to look at the facts, the government of the united states has never kept it's treaties with the Native Americans.It's so sad that those we trust to uphold the law can't even keep their own written words.
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Comment #13 posted by puff_tuff on August 29, 2001 at 23:41:09 PT
As if Natives have not suffered enough..
Now the dea thinks they can tear up Native Treaties.Shame!More on this issue here
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on August 29, 2001 at 21:14:53 PT
My 2 cents
My opinion is the network news is sponsored by the people who want their interests extended and so the news is centered around news topics that will make the right point for them. It's very sad for me to see how badly our tv network news channels have sold out. I'm sure not all people that work for a network are that way. Only because of the Internet can we see progress. It's wasn't that people from the peace and love generation didn't want to do something about marijuana legalization but we had no way to connect with others who thought the same way but look at it all happening now! A little late is always better then never I think.PS: If you want look at the picture of Governor Gary Johnson talking to a few small children about marijuana just click the link. It was in the ABQJournal. Talking to children. They'll listen. Bless Governor Johnson's heart.Scroll down a little and you'll see the picture.
Drug Policy Links
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Comment #11 posted by jAHn on August 29, 2001 at 20:52:13 PT
Where is every buddy?
CNN was bought out at the (s)Election 2000 by "someone"...Industrialists have been threatened for FAaaar too long to just "give in."I thought that Turner funded the Hemp Museum, where is CNN- is an interesting question. Even more interestingly, when will Ted turn up with his new network? Yup, lots o questions, but deafened voices are asking. That is, if you consider the people in jail and the people scared out of their wits for, simply, thinking of the word Hemp...NO...  Who would consider a conspiracy???? duh......said the elder ostrich with its head, too, in the dirt.Where is George Soros, and even more-so, Barbara Streisand and all of those Glitzy, Glam-Charmed humans??? No time for...
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Comment #10 posted by ekim on August 29, 2001 at 20:29:35 PT:
Please where are the billionairs like George Soros
Won't anyone of the big billionairs pushing for change help this warrior who has taken on the DEA. What outrage----For now, White Plume's legal problems are overshadowed by financial ones. Before the raid, he says, a buyer had agreed to purchase his harvest for $250 a bale. "We really needed to make some money on it this year," White Plume says. "Now I'm just counting my horses -- I'm getting ready to sell some more. I hate doing that." "We're just trying to make it," White Plume says
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Comment #9 posted by blunt monkey on August 29, 2001 at 18:08:16 PT:
Dupont and gov
Dupont had political ties in the federal government.Dupont had a patent pending on nylon.People growing hemp were competitors of Dupont.Cannabis competes with many current economic interests.Hemp has been illegal since the nylon was patented.Coincidence?
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Comment #8 posted by The Offspring on August 29, 2001 at 16:43:39 PT
Hemp is good
where I work at for the Canadian Government they are growing hemp and doing research on it. There is a hemp store in the city I live in. What is wrong with hemp.
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Comment #7 posted by pissedonandoff on August 29, 2001 at 14:49:14 PT:
too crazy
Can the federal government not tell how crazy a lot of us think they are? The stupidity shown in this article speaks for itself. I also agree with the comment of why isn,t any of this in the media. CNN shows the same stuff over and over and they surely need "news." I am still trying to figure out what is wrong with this screwed up war on industrial hemp and lately I wonder what is wrong with the media. A good website to visit that tells the many uses of industrial hemp and who is blocking its production is http://www.crrh.orgI think it was this site a couple of weeks ago that said illegal drug trade was 8% of the global economy. When you are talking about that much money it should be covered on business pages. The land of the free is now the land of pee.
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Comment #6 posted by Pontifex on August 29, 2001 at 14:42:10 PT
Good question, Josť
We've all become accustomed to the media blackout of news antagonistic to Drug Warriors. But this one is really hard to understand. With the Oglala Sioux, you have a seemingly unbeatable story:1) Helpless, wronged Native Americans2) Uniformed white men pillaging an Indian village for the fifth century running3) A controversial, opinion-polarizing issue (industrial hemp)There is endless opportunity here for eye-grabbing photo ops and memorable sound bites. Why doesn't CNN -- or Fox News, or any cable news station -- pick up the story at all?I am mystified.
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Comment #5 posted by E. Johnson on August 29, 2001 at 14:30:14 PT
Advice to White Plume
This time, agents arrived at a scheduled 8 a.m., shook hands with White Plume, and went to workIn her memoir about her husband's persecution and murder under the Stalinist regime, Nadezhda mandelstam relates that she was taught by one of the agents in charge of her husband's case that the oppressed and the oppressors are never to shake hands.He gave her this advaice as a way of helping her guard her emotional integrity while dealing with people whose intentions were to harm her and her husband quite severely and deliberately and for no good reason.You don't shake hands with your captors or your interrogators.Everyone who has lived under Communism has learned this.It's like shaking hands with your rapist. You just don't do it. White Plume should have not shaken hands with them and he should have let them provide their own refreshments. They're getting paid, they get travel expenses. All on the taxpayer's dime of course.Be polite but don't become their humble servant.
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Comment #4 posted by Jose Melendez on August 29, 2001 at 14:24:14 PT:
where is reuters, upi, ap?
Twice in two years, yet still no news coverage, no CNN, how is that possible? Did they negotiate no photos, too? 
Jose Melendez
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Comment #3 posted by E. Johnson on August 29, 2001 at 14:21:48 PT
Lazy Bastards
By the way, this answers the question posed by the Washington Post regarding the disporportionate role played by marijuana in federal drug prosecutions.If you were a DEA agent, how would you rather spend your day?Taking down some armed and dangerous and wealthy drug lord?Or playing dress up to scare the wits out of a bunch of poor reservation dwellers and rip up their economic future as they sit passively by, having previously agreed not to resist?Marijuana prhibition is partly a scam by lazy ass federal civil servants!!!!!!!!!Get your big SWAT blue behinds out of the hemp fields and into somewhere where you can actually credibly claim to be working for a living.They want a cushy a federal job -- and citizens like White Plume have to pay the price.
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Comment #2 posted by mayan on August 29, 2001 at 14:07:57 PT
Passed By
Hemp is the material of this new millenium - hands down! The rest of the world is passing the United States by because they are not as dominated by greed & ignorance. Hemp is our only hope.Save Hemp!
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Comment #1 posted by E. Johnson on August 29, 2001 at 13:55:00 PT

Our Founding Fathers grew hemp
This is an outrage against fundamental American ideals.It seems to be almost a blasphemy to demonize a plant that played such an important role in the early economy and daily life of our Nation.Joe McCarthy was wrong. The Communists weren't in the State Department. They were in the Bureau of Narcotics all along!
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