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DEA Playing Games with Kentucky's Hemp Seeds -- State Sues

After being misled by the DEA about whether it would release imported heed seed destined for the state's hemp research projects, the state of Kentucky is now suing the federal anti-drug agency, Agriculture Commissioner James Comer told The Huffington Post Wednesday.

hemp field at sunrise (votehemp.org)
This comes just one day after Comer said the DEA told him the seeds would be released.

"I hated to do that, but we've been misled and it's obviously a stall tactic," Comer told HuffPost. "We have farmers who wanna grow it. We have processors who wanna process it. We have researchers who wanna research it. We bought and paid for the seeds," Comer said. "Here in Kentucky there's a desperate need to find an alternative to tobacco."

And the clock is ticking, with Mother Nature paying no attention to bureaucratic power plays. Hemp crops need to be in the ground this month for this year's season.

Research on hemp is now legal for state agriculture departments and universities in states that have passed laws allowing for it. A groundbreaking amendment allowing for the research was approved as part of the omnibus farm bill signed into law earlier this year. And Kentucky ordered 250 pounds of Italian hemp seed to do research this year.

But the DEA now says the state ag department must apply for a permit to import the seeds because they are a Schedule I controlled substance. That's a change of tune from the anti-drug agency.

"We were told yesterday in multiple phone calls that we wouldn't have to do this Schedule I import permit," senior Kentucky ag official Holly Harris VonLuehrte told HuffPost. She noted that agreeing to the DEA demand would be an implicit acceptance of the DEA's position that hemp is in fact a Schedule I drug.

"Industrial hemp is not a Schedule I controlled substance. We're not going to execute a document that violates federal and state law," she said.

The seeds are currently stuck in a US Customs warehouse in Louisville.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), one of the sponsors of the hemp amendment to the farm bill, ridiculed the DEA's position.

"I think I have a copy of the Congressional Record lying around my office that shows that Congress just debated this issue and voted overwhelmingly to allow research institutions to grow and study industrial hemp," Blumenauer told HuffPost. "I'd send it over to the DEA, but I'm worried they would classify it as rolling papers and seize it. With every move, the DEA is showing that they are incredibly out of touch with mainstream America. We need serious self-evaluation and shakeup over there if they ever want to be taken seriously."

But the DEA may have managed to knock Kentucky's hemp research schedule back by a year.

Frankfort, KY
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Hemp will Grow

Ag. Commissioner Comer has stated that Kentucky has a back up seed supply . This was a purely political stunt by the DEA . They thought it would stop the seed planting function that is planned for Friday in Kentucky . People need to be fired . 

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This is what happens when you

This is what happens when you ask the DEA AND/OR GOVERNMENT PLEASE PLEASE can we grow hemp?

GROW SOME FUCKING BALLS AND ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING IF YOU WANT REFORM! OTHERWISE JUST SIT DOWN AND SHUT THE FUCK UP BECAUSE YOUR NOT HELPING!

There's room for both approaches

Reformers working within the law, and reformers treating the law with the utter contempt it deserves are both fine with me. 

It's time to shut down the

It's time to shut down the DEA.  Nixon created it with an executive order; Obama can end it with one, if he has the guts. 

Laughable

That's funny. You're assuming POTUS has the slightest desire to end the Drug War, or eliminate the DEA. You're joking, right?

talks a good game

Like many other issues Obama and Holder talk a good game on slowing the drug war but you see their real position in articles like this one. One phone call from either Obama or Holder could fix this but I doubt it comes. How about the Kettle Falls Five? 

Drafting error?

Is it possible that Congress drew so poorly the bill to allow hemp experiment'n that it left intact the requirement for DEA regisitr'n?

Weirdest Government Lawsuit Ever

That the State of Kentucky is being forced to sue the DEA to get the DEA to comply with Congressional mandates regarding hemp research is utterly insane.  We’ve known for some time that drug enforcement is job security for people with personality disorders and a lack of basic job skills, but do we really need a rogue agency like the DEA wrecking the economy after they’ve wrecked so many people’s lives with their falsehoods and deceit? 

The DEA isn’t protecting anybody by interfering with botanical research on hemp.  It’s not even protecting itself, since its inherently destructive activities reflect on its own legitimacy as a government agency.  Already there is a Bill in the House to defund DEA raids of medical marijuana dispensaries.  What we are witnessing is a government bureaucracy collapsing under its own weight.  As the bricks and mortar give way, we must be wary of the desperation of scientifically illiterate DEA agents and flakes such as DEA Director Michele Leonhart and their futile attempts to appear relevant in a society that left them behind forty years ago.

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