Hemp-Help for Native American Tribe

Local News

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – A local bulk CBD manufacturer and a Native American tribe from North Dakota came together in Palisade on Friday, in hopes of expanding sustainable businesses and positively impacting tribe members with natural products.

EcoGen Labs has perfected the genetic material of its seeds in order to grow quality hemp and produce industrial-scale CBD ingredients.

Back in March, the USDA approved a hemp plan for the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, who are now visiting the Western Slope from Belcourt, North Dakota.

The tribe is connecting with EcoGen in hopes of learning more about the hemp industry and growing process, and flipping that into a sustainable business for the tribe.

“I’m just trying to do what I can for my people,” said Sheldon Thomas, the Tribal Planner for the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.

“It allows us to be not so dependent on funding from the government and grants,” said Thomas.

“Hemp farming, as with other farming, it’s good in, good out,” said Doug Watson, General Manager and Vice President of sales for EcoGen Labs.

“It’s very hard to get into good quality genetics like what you see here,” said Watson.

According to Watson, starting with good genetics gives you the potential to have a very successful farm.

“I think it could be a really big component into our whole economic and agricultural initiative,” said Thomas, “Could be something special and it could be something that may affect seven generations for us to follow.”

This is especially true, considering EcoGen’s new buy-back program.

“To let the farmers know that we stand behind them,” said Watson.

Whatever dollar amount is spent on the seed, is how much they’ll spend on buying the product back, ideal for the tribe’s goals.

“Securing our food source through agribusiness development and stewarding our native lands through technology and research,” said Thomas.

In turn, impacting the health of those struggling within the tribe’s community.

“Opioids, prescription medications and addictions and to offer them a healthier alternative to that, that’s something special,” said Thomas.

Bringing help to the communities that need it.

“As people can educate themselves and understand what is here, I think it’s beneficial for everyone,” said Watson, “The public in general has had a real lurching relationship with cannabis.”

Highlighting the beneficial qualities of hemp as an option for those with medical concerns.

“This ain’t the alternative, the other stuff is the alternative, this is the natural,” said Thomas.

It’s clear that hemp or CBS products won’t work for all medical issues, but according to Watson, when it does work, it works well.

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