You may have seen my post about the North Dakota farmers who were issued hemp licenses. Having received their state licenses, they still aren’t allowed to grow hemp. They now need federal licence - due to the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) not recognizing the term ‘industrial hemp’.
Well, they’re still fighting their battle. It seems that it’s not that straight forward getting an industrial hemp license in the US!
Here’s a news article I found with one of the farmers displaying some hemp products. The farmer, Wayne Hauge, says:
Just a couple of hours north of us in Canada, industrial hemp is grown for multiple products.
They’re growing it, and they’re doing well with it. They make soaps, lotions, ropes and twine. When you combine its fibers with flax, cotton and silk, it makes a very soft product. Hemp could make a nice prom dress. They’ve got hemp granola bars and hemp milk in three flavors.
And he says that the unopened hemp milk could set on a shelf almost a year unrefridgerated.
Two North Dakota farmers fighting for the right to grow industrial hemp, have had their case heard in the United States court of appeals.
The farmers sued the DEA in June last year because it was preventing them from planting hemp, despite the fact that they had received state licences to grow the plant.
Although the state of North Dakota has granted the farmers with licences to grow hemp, the federal law claims that industrial hemp is a drug and therefore prohibits them from doing so.
The U.S. District Court of North Dakota had initially dismissed the farmers’ case in June 2007, ruling that that hemp and marijuana are the same.
Contrary to this ruling, scientific evidence actually shows that not only are oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis genetically distinct from drug varieties, but there are absolutely no psychoactive effects gained from eating it.
The farmers, represented by attorneys Joe Sandler and Tim Purdon, argued to the court that there is no possibility the hemp crop could be diverted into the market for drugs.
“Given North Dakota’s unique regulatory regime, nothing leaves the farmer’s property except those parts of the plant Congress has already decided should be exempt from regulation: hemp stalk, fiber seed and oil. The question is whether there is any rational basis for Congressional regulation of the plant itself growing on the farmer’s property. The answer is no — because industrial hemp is useless as drug marijuana and there’s no danger of diversion, so there’s no possible impact on the market for drug marijuana.” Mr Sandler argued to the court.
The government argued that the plaintiffs should apply to the DEA for permission to grow hemp and that the court didn’t have jurisdiction over the issues raised by the farmers.
Melissa Patterson, representative for the Justice Department, said “The plaintiffs should await the DEA’s decision on their application,”
In response, Judge Michael Milloy asked, “Isn’t it true the DEA will not rule on the farmer’s applications to grow hemp, you’ve had eleven months?”
Ms. Patterson answered, “The DEA has not replied out of respect to the pending proceedings.”
In response to the jurisdictional objections made by the DEA, Judge Lavenski Smith said, “When there is a legitimate constitutional issue brought before us we can hear the case.”
The court is expected to make a written decision next year.