Farmers suing DEA over right to grow hemp

By Heretic.Ape. · Jun 18, 2007 · ·
  1. Heretic.Ape.

    Feds Argue That 'Hemp Is Marijuana'

    Two North Dakota farmers who want to grow hemp are filing a federal lawsuit today to challenge the Drug Enforcement Administration's ban on the plant that is the same species that produces marijuana.

    Hemp can be imported from Canada, Europe and China, but growing hemp in the USA is illegal, the DEA says.

    "Hemp is marijuana," DEA spokesman Garrison Courtney says. "There's no distinguishing feature between marijuana and hemp."

    Lawyers for the farmers say the Controlled Substances Act, which governs illegal drugs, makes a specific exception for hemp, a non-drug version of the marijuana plant. They are seeking a court ruling that says the federal authorities cannot arrest the North Dakota farmers for growing hemp.

    The federal government used to encourage farmers to grow what is known as "industrial hemp," says attorney Joseph Sandler in Washington, D.C., who is representing the farmers. Hemp plants have a low concentration of the psychoactive chemical that gives marijuana users a high, he said.

    "You can smoke 17 fields of this stuff, and it's not going to do anything," Sandler says. "It doesn't make sense to say you can import all this hemp, but you can't grow it and import it from North Dakota to South Dakota."

    North Dakota's Legislature began considering allowing farmers to grow hemp more than 10 years ago after disease wiped out the wheat and barley crop, says state Rep. Dave Monson, a Republican leader in the Legislature and one of the farmers filing the lawsuit.

    In 1993, the disease was so bad, "we actually burned every acre of wheat and barley we produced," says Monson, who lives in Osnabrock. "I came to the realization that we needed alternative crops."

    Just across the North Dakota border, farmers in Canada are growing hemp and making a profit, he says. U.S. manufacturers who use hemp to produce textiles, soaps and other materials must import the crop from countries that allow hemp farming.

    A North Dakota State University study in 1997 found a good market for hemp in the USA, so the Legislature passed laws to regulate hemp farming, Monson said. The laws require background checks on the farmers and monitoring to make sure illicit marijuana crops aren't growing in the middle of the hemp field, he says.

    Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson issued the first permits on Feb. 6 to Monson and Wayne Hauge, a farmer and accountant in Ray, N.D. The farmers applied Feb. 12 for a DEA license, indicating they would need a decision by April 1 in time to plant the crop.

    On March 27, DEA Deputy Administrator Joseph Rannazzisi said in a letter to Johnson that it was unrealistic to expect a decision in seven weeks. That's where the plan stalled.

    "I think it's pretty apparent that they are quite clearly choosing not to exercise their authority to distinguish between hemp and marijuana," says Johnson, who met with DEA officials in February.

    "It's pointless to continue dealing with them," Johnson says. "Their inaction is a pretty clear indication that they're not taking the application process seriously. It's been an issue 10 years in the making."

    Monson and Hauge say the time to plant the hemp has passed. Monson planted wheat in his field on June 1.

    Courtney says the DEA is still reviewing the application and is concerned that the farmers will not be able to keep their fields secure. "We have to take a balanced approach to the application," he said. "We have to look at every aspect of the application. I don't think you can put a time frame on that sort of issue. It takes time."



    Top hemp products in the USA:

    Soaps. Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, whose ingredients include hemp oil and seeds.

    Foods. HempPlus granola and granola bars, by Nature's Path Foods.

    Papers. Living Tree Paper uses recycled hemp blend, no new trees.

    Clothing. Various makers use hemp in jeans, silk, jackets and shoes.

    Auto parts. At least 3 million U.S. cars from Ford and DaimlerChrysler use hemp fiber polymers, not fiberglass.

    Source - Vote Hemp

    Save the world: vote hemp

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  1. Orchid_Suspiria
    Its nice to see someone fight back against the worst pigs in existence even if it is simply a legal battle.
  2. FrankenChrist
    *bangs head*

    Helloooo! THC-content!

    God, I can't tell if they're evil, stupid or both. How can they expect anyone to take them seriously?
  3. Nature Boy
    This could really become a ground-breaking move. Unfortunately though the DEA will probably shoot it down quickly because it interferes with their "vested interests".
  4. Heretic.Ape.
    Here's another nice article on this
    Will the Courts Tell the DEA the Difference Between Hemp and Pot?

    Jacob Sullum | June 22, 2007, 12:52pm
    Two North Dakota farmers, one of them a state legislator, filed a federal lawsuit this week asking for a judgment declaring that the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) does not prohibit their cultivation of industrial hemp. In 2005 North Dakota legalized hemp farming, but the necessary state licenses initially required approval from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. This year, after it became clear that the DEA would not give its blessing to hemp cultivation, the state legislature amended the law to waive that requirement. But now would-be hemp farmers are worried that if they proceed with their plans they could face federal prosecution.
    The DEA refuses to distinguish between nonpsychoactive hemp, which by definition contains less than 0.3 percent THC, and marijuana, which has a THC concentration at least 10 times as high. Hemp is legally grown in many countries around the world where marijuana is prohibited, and products made from hemp fiber, seed, and oil are legally sold in the United States. But because of the DEA's intransigence, the raw material for these products cannot be grown in this country without fear of arrest.
    In their lawsuit, state Rep. David Monson (R-Osnabrook) and Wayne Hauge, who has a farm in Ray, North Dakota, argue that the DEA is misreading the CSA, which specifically excludes the stalks, oil, and sterilized seeds of cannabis plants from the definition of marijuana. This definition, carried over the the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, reflects Congress' intent to allow the continued cultivation of hemp. Monson and Hauge argue that it's unreasonable to claim that Congress meant to ban industrial hemp:
    The CSA does not prohibit the Plaintiffs' planned cultivation of industrial hemp on their farms in North Dakota because Congress's own findings in the CSA, read together with the legislative history of the Act, suggest that Congress did not intend to preclude a state regulated regime in which only the non-regulated parts of the plant would enter commerce at all and there is absolutely no risk of diversion of drug marijuana by reason of the cultivation of the hemp plants themselves, which are useless as drug marijuana and the mere cultivation of which cannot in any way affect commerce, whether intrastate or interstate, in drug marijuana.
    The CSA does not prohibit the Plaintiffs' planned cultivation of industrial hemp on their farms in North Dakota because Congress could not, in the absence of any risk of diversion, logically have intended to allow someone in Canada to grow Cannabis and export the non-regulated parts of the plant into North Dakota but not allow someone in North Dakota to grow a form of Cannabis useless as drug marijuana and sell or distribute the same non-regulated parts of the plant in the same state, North Dakota. And since Congress would not have logically intended to prohibit such sale or distribution, it could not logically have intended to prohibit intrastate commerce in viable hemp planting seed useless for the cultivation of drug marijuana and useful only for cultivation of industrial hemp for processing the non-regulated parts of the plant for commercial use.​
    The DEA's interpretation of the CSA vis-à-vis hemp already has been rejected by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which blocked the agency's attempt to ban edible hemp products. In this case, however, there is the added complication that the hemp plants raised by U.S. farmers would include leaves and flowers, albeit with so little THC that they're worthless for getting high. Monson and Hauge emphasize that the leaves and flowers would stay on the farm. There is also the issue of the nonsterilized seeds that would be necessary to grow hemp, which they address by saying that the seeds cannot be used to grow psychoactive cannabis and would in any case stay in North Dakota, where their use would be regulated by the state.
    But here is my favorite part of the suit: Even if Congress did mean to ban the sort of hemp farming authorized by North Dakota law, Monson and Hauge suggest, it does not have the constitutional authority to do so:​
    The CSA cannot be interpreted to prohibit the Plaintiffs' planned cultivation of industrial hemp on their farms in North Dakota because regulation of such cultivation, in the absence of any affect on commerce of any kind in the commodities which Congress has chosen to regulate under the CSA, would exceed congressional power under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Although Congress could regulate interstate commerce, and thus intrastate cultivation and production, of industrial hemp fiber and seed products, Congress has chosen not to do so. By applying the CSA to the Plaintiffs' proposed cultivation of industrial hemp, DEA would be extending its authority under the CSA into areas of interstate commerce Congress has expressly chosen not to regulate under the CSA. In-state industrial hemp plants themselves are in no way fungible with drug marijuana, whether moving in intrastate or interstate commerce, as no part of the industrial hemp plant has utility as a drug. The regulated parts of industrial hemp plants could not possibly be diverted into and "swell" or increase the supply of drug marijuana. Therefore, there is no potential for any effect on interstate commerce in drug marijuana. Intrastate cultivation of industrial hemp thus has no connection or effect whatsoever on the interstate commerce in drug marijuana that Congress has determined to regulate.​
    For those of us who were wondering, in the wake of the Supreme Court's determination that a pot plant on a California patient's windowsill is "interstate commerce," whether anything could be considered beyond congressional authority under the Commerce Clause, this sounds like a plausible prospect. Since industrial hemp is not a drug, it is even further removed from the interstate cannabis market than medical marijuana is. But note that Monson and Hauge's argument seems to hinge on the fact that Congress has not chosen to regulate the hemp market. If it did decide to do so, presumably it could control (or forbid) production in North Dakota, just as it does with other agricultural commodities.​
  5. Bajeda
    They have concerns about keeping the fields secure? What the hell for? If some kids go and steal some to try and smoke they will be in for a surprise!
  6. zasabi
    in case their growing kush in the middle of all that hemp?
  7. Twiglet
    In england where there are hemp fields, If swim's unlucky someone might pick some and try and sell it to swim, never happened to swim, but that's the worst that could happen, as far as swim sees ,if they did allow it. Although groundbreaking, wouldn't help swiy's as it has no thc.
    good luck to them
    (maybe if you did an extraction of the field, you could pack a bowl?)
    Swim's curious now, how much yield from 1 acre of hemp
    how much thc, from field extraction?Any ideas
  8. D.U.M.B
    " Feds Argue That 'Hemp Is Marijuana' "

    Jesus I thought this guys were supposed to be smart, how can they say two different things are the exact same

    SWIM hopes these farmers can win this battle but seeing as they're against the DEA SWIM doubts it

    Who knows the DEA might counter sue just for the fun
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