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North Dakota Hemp Farmers Appeal Federal Court Decision

hemp2.JPGIt’s not over yet for licensed North Dakota hemp farmers, State Representative David Monson and Wayne Hauge. If you’ll remember my series of stories on these two gentlemen, they have been licensed by the State of North Dakota to grow industrial hemp on their farms.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says if they do, they’re in violation of drug laws because hemp is considered marijuana. Period.

So the farmers went to Federal Court in Bismarck, N.D. last June and filed a lawsuit to end the DEA’s ban on industrial hemp farming in the United States. On November 29th, U.S. Federal Judge Daniel Hovland dismissed their lawsuit, saying the question should be settled by Congress. The judge also ruled that hemp and marijuana are the “same”, the argument raised by the DEA.

Not satisfied with that ruling, the farmers have appealed the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, claiming the court failed to consider the Commerce Clause argument raised by the plaintiffs, which states Congress cannot interfere with North Dakota’s state-regulated hemp program.

According to the release by Vote Hemp, scientific evidence makes it clear that the hemp plant to be grown in North Dakota has absolutely no recreational drug effect. Farmers want to harvest the oil and fiber from industrial hemp plants for commercial sale in the U.S..

In another related incident, the case brought by the farmers prompted the DEA to respond to an eight year old request from North Dakota State University to grow industrial hemp for research purposes. The DEA has sent the school a proposal, which is being reviewed at this time.

Should NDSU reach an agreement with the DEA, university officials say it could cost $50,000 to install 10-foot high fences around the test area, along with high powered lighting, as required by the DEA. If agreement is reached, it will allow for industrial research and development in North Dakota. That, according to school officials, would lead to developing varieties of industrial hemp best suited for North Dakota’s climate.

Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp, is quoted as saying,

We feel that the lower court’s decision not only overlooks Congress’s original legislative intent, but also fails to stand up for fundamental states’ rights against overreaching federal regulation. Canada grows over 30,000 acres of industrial hemp annually without any law enforcment problems. In our federalist society, it is not the burden of North Dakota’s citizens to ask Congress in Washington, D.C. to clear up its contradictory and confusing regulations concerning Cannabis; it is their right to grow industrial hemp pursuant to their own state law and the United States Constitution.”

Vote Hemp is the nation’s leading industrial hemp advocacy group and its supporters are providing financial support for the lawsuit. If successful, farmers in America will be free to grow hemp according to their states farming laws without fear of federal interference.

You can see more about the case at Vote Hemp.




4 comments
  1. r smith

    A History of the Hemp Industry in USA, Book, hemp gloves, hemp hair tie, hemp washcloth, hemp fabric strips, and center a hemp scrubby. This is GODs plant for us.When can feed and clouth our family. it is not about smoking dope, it is about encomic freedom.

  2. Hank

    That seems like a high cost for a fence and lighting. $50,000…
    Why can’t someone build a virtual fence like they were building on the Mexican border?
    Ohh yeah.. Stupid me.. I forgot that actually doesn’t work and the US government has some issues to work out with Virtual Reality..
    Maybe Non-lethal microwave weapons can be used in conjunction with movement sensors.Infared sensors like the ones on outdoor lighting or security lights would detect movement and send a beam of microwave waves at that area.Signs could be put up around the area.BEWARE or CAUTION.DO NOT ENTER. THIS AREA PROTECTED BY MICROWAVE RADIATION WEAPONS.YOU WILL BE BURNED SEVERELY BY RADIATION IF YOU ENTER THIS AREA.
    The only problem with using this is for people that can not read or animals that are detected and do not move out of the beam’s path fast enough.Microwave weapons heat a persons body so they tend to move away from the area fast enough to not be lethally burned.
    Something similar for signs in Spanish and other languages could be used on the Mexican border along with the microwave non-lethal weapon.Maybe it will happen someday when the US government actually makes things happen,instead of dreaming in Virtual reality.

  3. Wade Swicord

    Hello Eric,

    Sometime back I set up a hemp company to grow hemp in the Central America and ship it here. Got stopped by a measly ordinance. Actually thinking about starting the process again on a more casual basis. I have been trying to find out how much demand there is for raw hemp now. I know that industry will use it given a confident and sufficient supply.

    Ran into a good story reflecting the above problem: At least ten years ago some guys on the West Coast decided to grow an experimental plot of hemp. The bought seeds in Amsterdam and had them ready to ship. They ran into so much difficulty with getting permitted, that they felt the seeds would go fallow. Finally got permission and then that was modified by Feds to include the fence as described above. So that was done. Their seeds were good after all and they had a good crop growing up about three feet tall. Now comes the DEA, breaks the lock and cuts down all the plants and hauls them away.

    It is all about cash flow and who keeps jobs. Ask the judge if he would like to make a sandwich from the Nightshade plant and eat it. After all, it is the same family as the tomato.

    Keep hammering away. There is a crack in the dyke.

    Wade

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