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Press Release: Reps. Barney Frank and Ron Paul Introduce Hemp Bill HR 1866

VH


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 3, 2009

 
   
CONTACT:     Tom Murphy 207-542-4998
                                    tom@votehemp.com
                     Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671
                            adam@mintwood.com


Representatives Barney Frank and Ron Paul Introduce
Hemp Farming Legislation - HR 1866

 
WASHINGTON, DC - A federal bill was introduced yesterday that, if passed into law, would remove restrictions on the cultivation of non-psychoactive industrial hemp.  The chief sponsors of HR 1866, "The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009," Representatives Barney Frank (D-MA) and Ron Paul (R-TX), were joined by nine other U.S. House members split equally between Republicans and Democrats.
 
 "It is unfortunate that the federal government has stood in the way of American farmers, including many who are struggling to make ends meet, from competing in the global industrial hemp market," said Representative Ron Paul during his introduction of the bill yesterday before the U.S. House.  "Indeed, the founders of our nation, some of whom grew hemp, would surely find that federal restrictions on farmers growing a safe and profitable crop on their own land are inconsistent with the constitutional guarantee of a limited, restrained federal government.  Therefore, I urge my colleagues to stand up for American farmers and co-sponsor the Industrial Hemp Farming Act," concluded Paul.
 
"With so much discussion lately in the media about drug policy, it is surprising that the tragedy of American hemp farming hasn't come up as a 'no-brainer' for reform," says Vote Hemp President, Eric Steenstra.  "Hemp is a versatile, environmentally-friendly crop that has not been grown here for over fifty years because of a politicized interpretation of the nation's drug laws by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).  President Obama should direct the DEA to stop confusing industrial hemp with its genetically distinct cousin, marijuana.  While the new bill in Congress is a welcome step, the hemp industry is hopeful that President Obama's administration will prioritize hemp's benefits to farmers.  Jobs would be created overnight, as there are numerous U.S. companies that now have no choice but to import hemp raw materials worth many millions of dollars per year," adds Steenstra.
 
U.S. companies that manufacture or sell products made with hemp include Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, a California company who manufactures the number-one-selling natural soap, and FlexForm Technologies, an Indiana company whose natural fiber materials are used in over two million cars on the road today.  Hemp food manufacturers, such as French Meadow Bakery, Hempzels, Living Harvest, Nature's Path and Nutiva, now make their products from Canadian hemp.  Although hemp now grows wild across the U.S., a vestige of centuries of hemp farming here, the hemp for these products must be imported.  Hemp clothing is made around the world by well-known brands such as Patagonia, Bono's Edun and Giorgio Armani.
 
There is strong support among key national organizations for a change in the federal government's position on hemp.  The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) "supports revisions to the federal rules and regulations authorizing commercial production of industrial hemp."  The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) has also passed a pro-hemp resolution.
 
Numerous individual states have expressed interest in and support for industrial hemp as well.  Sixteen states have passed pro-hemp legislation, and eight states (Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia) have removed barriers to its production or research.  North Dakota has been issuing state licenses to farmers for two years now.  The new bill will remove federal barriers and allow laws in these states regulating the growing and processing of hemp to take effect.
 
"Under the current national drug control policy, industrial hemp can be imported, but it can't be grown by American farmers," says Steenstra.  "The DEA has taken the Controlled Substances Act's antiquated definition of marijuana out of context and used it as an excuse to ban industrial hemp farming.  The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009 will return us to more rational times when the government regulated marijuana, but allowed farmers to continue raising industrial hemp just as they always had."
 
#   #   #
 
More information about hemp legislation and the crop's many uses can be found at www.VoteHemp.com.
BETA SP and DVD Video News Releases featuring footage of hemp farming in other countries are available upon request by contacting Adam Eidinger at 202-744-2671.

Location: 
Washington, DC
United States

Press Release: Representatives Barney Frank and Ron Paul Introduce Hemp Farming Legislation

press release from Vote Hemp:

WASHINGTON, DC: A federal bill was introduced today that will remove restrictions on the cultivation of non-psychoactive industrial hemp. The chief sponsors of HR 1866, "The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009," Representatives Barney Frank (D-MA) and Ron Paul (R-TX) were joined by nine other US House members split equally between Republicans and Democrats.

http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/hempharvest.jpg
hemp being harvested (courtesy Wikipedia)
"It is unfortunate that the federal government has stood in the way of American farmers, including many who are struggling to make ends meet, from competing in the global industrial hemp market," said Representative Ron Paul during his introduction of the bill today before the US House. "Indeed, the founders of our nation, some of whom grew hemp, would surely find that federal restrictions on farmers growing a safe and profitable crop on their own land are inconsistent with the constitutional guarantee of a limited, restrained federal government. Therefore, I urge my colleagues to stand up for American farmers and cosponsor the Industrial Hemp Farming Act," concluded Paul.

"With so much discussion lately in the media about drug policy, it is surprising the tragedy of American hemp farming hasn't come up as a 'no-brainer' for reform," says Vote Hemp President, Eric Steenstra. "Hemp is a versatile, environmentally friendly crop that has not been grown for over 50 years because of a politicized interpretation of the nation's drug laws by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). President Obama should direct the DEA to avoid confusing industrial hemp and it's genetically distinct cousin marijuana. While the new bill in Congress is a welcome step, the hemp industry is hopeful the President Barack Obama's administration will prioritize hemp's benefits to farmers. There are jobs that would be created over night as there are numerous American companies that have no choice but to import hemp worth many millions of dollars per year," says Steenstra.

US companies that manufacture or sell products made with hemp include Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, a California company who manufactures the number-one-selling natural soap, and FlexForm Technologies, an Indiana company whose natural fiber materials are used in over two million cars. Hemp food manufacturers such as French Meadow Bakery, Hempzels, Living Harvest, Nature's Path and Nutiva now make their products from Canadian hemp. Although hemp grows wild across the US, a vestige of centuries of hemp farming, the hemp for these products must be imported. Hemp clothing is made around the world by well-known brands such as Patagonia, Bono's Edun and Giorgio Armani.

There is strong support among key national organizations for a change in the federal government's position on hemp. The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) "supports revisions to the federal rules and regulations authorizing commercial production of industrial hemp."

Numerous individual states have expressed interest in industrial hemp as well. Sixteen states have passed pro-hemp legislation; eight (Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia) have removed barriers to its production or research. North Dakota has issued state licenses, two years running. The new bill will remove federal barriers and allow laws in these states regulating the growing and processing of industrial hemp to take effect.

More information about hemp legislation and the crop's many uses can be found at www.VoteHemp.com. BETA SP and DVD Video News Releases featuring footage of hemp farming in other countries are available upon request by contacting Adam Eidinger at adam@mintwood.com.

Press Release: New Bill Allowing Industrial Hemp Farming Expected to be Introduced this Week

VH

VOTEHEMP.COM  
NEWS ADVISORY
April 1, 2009
 
    CONTACT: Tom Murphy 207-542-4998
                             tom@votehemp.com
                   Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671
                              adam@mintwood.com 

 

New Bill Allowing Industrial Hemp Farming Expected to be Introduced this Week
 
WASHINGTON, DC - For the third time since the federal government outlawed hemp farming in the United States over 50 years ago, a federal bill will be introduced that will remove restrictions on the cultivation of non-psychoactive industrial hemp.  The chief sponsors, Representatives Barney Frank (D-MA) and Ron Paul (R-TX), have circulated a "Dear Colleague" letter seeking support for the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009.  The bill will be identical to HR 1009, which was introduced in the 110th Congress in 2007. 
 
"With so much discussion lately in the media about drug policy, it's surprising that the tragedy of American hemp farming hasn't come up as a 'no-brainer' for reform," says Vote Hemp President, Eric Steenstra.  "Hemp is a versatile, environmentally-friendly crop that has not been grown here for over 50 years because of a politicized interpretation of the nation's drug laws by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).  President Obama should direct the DEA to stop confusing industrial hemp with its genetically distinct cousin, marijuana.  While the new bill in Congress is a welcome step, the hemp industry is hopeful that the new leadership in the White House will prioritize the crop's benefits to farmers.  Jobs would be created overnight, as there are numerous U.S. companies that now have no choice but to import hemp materials valued at $360 million in annual retail sales and growing," adds Steenstra.
 
U.S. companies that manufacture or sell products made with hemp include Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, a California company who manufactures the number-one-selling natural soap, and FlexForm Technologies, an Indiana company whose natural fiber materials are used in over three million cars on the road today.  Hemp food manufacturers, such as French Meadow Bakery, Hempzels, Living Harvest, Nature's Path and Nutiva, now make their products from Canadian hemp.  Although hemp now grows wild across the U.S., a vestige of centuries of hemp farming here, the hemp for these products must be imported.  Hemp clothing is made around the world by well-known brands such as Patagonia, Bono's Edun and Giorgio Armani.
 
There is strong support among key national organizations for a change in the federal government's position on hemp.  The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) "supports revisions to the federal rules and regulations authorizing commercial production of industrial hemp."  The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) has also passed a pro-hemp resolution.
 
Numerous individual states have expressed interest in and support for industrial hemp as well.  Sixteen states have passed pro-hemp legislation, and eight states (Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia) have removed barriers to its production or research.  North Dakota has been issuing state licenses to farmers for two years now.  The new bill will remove federal barriers and allow laws in these states regulating the growing and processing of hemp to take effect.
 
"Under the current national drug control policy, industrial hemp can be imported, but it can't be grown by American farmers," says Steenstra.  "The DEA has taken the Controlled Substances Act's antiquated definition of marijuana out of context and used it as an excuse to ban industrial hemp farming.  The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009 will return us to more rational times when the government regulated marijuana, but allowed farmers to continue raising industrial hemp just as they always had."
 
#   #   #



More information about hemp legislation and the crop's many uses can be found at www.VoteHemp.com.
BETA SP and DVD Video News Releases featuring footage of hemp farming in other countries are available upon request by contacting Adam Eidinger at 202-744-2671.

     
Location: 
Washington, DC
United States

If Obama Supports Medical Marijuana, What About Hemp?

On the heels of Obama's hugely popular decision to end the DEA's raids on medical marijuana providers, it's worth looking into some of the other absurd federal drug policies that interfere with states rights and common sense.

Hemp cultivation isn’t technically illegal in the U.S., but you need a special permit from the DEA, and if you ask for one they'll call you a hippie and tell you to go f@#k yourself.  Seriously, try it. I applied last year and this is the response I got:

Dear Mr. Morgan,

We have finished processing your application to "grow hemp so I can make cool snacks and rope and stuff." We regret to inform you that you are a hippie and you can go screw yourself.

Yours cruelly,

Michele Leonhart,
Acting Administrator
Drug Enforcement Administration

P.S. Your blog sucks and if you put this letter in your blog, we'll burn down the Chipotle next to your office.

That about sums it up. Honestly, I don’t even get why this is an issue. Hemp isn’t drugs. Why DEA gives a damn if people want to cultivate hemp is completely beyond me. Near as I can tell, they're relying exclusively on the argument that people will surreptitiously grow marijuana in their hemp fields, which is preposterous because you can't do that. Hemp will cross-pollinate and destroy any commercial marijuana in its vicinity. It's the anti-pot.

Thus, I tend to assume that DEA's animosity towards hemp is merely a symptom of the broader culture war surrounding marijuana in general. They'll concede nothing to the reform community, even when their intransigence requires them to obstruct legitimate economic activity based on flimsy reasoning.

Of course, now that we have a president with the guts to tell DEA when they're out of line, there's simply no reason this issue can’t move forward. Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, and West Virginia have all passed laws authorizing hemp cultivation and eagerly await the federal go-ahead. Efforts to legalize hemp are also underway in Minnesota and in California, where a hemp bill died on the governor's desk (Schwarzenegger cited conflict with federal law as his reason for rejecting the legislation).

Hemp won't save our economy, but it can provide income for many good, hardworking people. We lead the industrialized world in the importation of hemp and it would make a great deal of sense to start producing it ourselves.

Africa: Debate Over Marijuana Legalization in Morocco Hits the Airwaves

Since at least the 15th Century, farmers in Morocco's Rif Mountains have been growing marijuana, which they typically process into hashish. For decades, Moroccan hash has been a mainstay of European marijuana markets. In recent years, production reached a peak of 135,000 hectares in 2003 before declining to about 60,000 hectares this year and last in the face of aggressive government efforts to eradicate crops and break up trafficking organizations.

http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/moroccohashish.jpg
Moroccan hashish field
But while the half-decade of harsh repression has led to ever-larger seizure numbers, it has also led to ever-larger arrest figures and stoked resentment in traditional marijuana growing regions. Efforts to reduce cultivation through alternative development programs have proven only partial successful, and now the debate over what to do about marijuana production has broken out into the public sphere.

On Wednesday, December 3, Moroccan Television's second station, 2M, broadcast a live debate on possible approaches to cannabis cultivation called "Cannabis and Hashish: What Approach To Take?" Participating in the discussion were Khalid Zerouali, executive director of migration and customs; Chakib Al Khayari, president of the Association for Human Rights in the Rif region, Professor Mohamed Hmamouchi, director of the National Institute of Medicinal Plants; Hamid El Farouki, director of development at the Agency for Promotion and Development of the Northern Region; and researcher Abderrahman Merzouki.

According to a report on the debate made available by the European Coalition for Just and Effective Drug Policies (ENCOD), the panelists discussed three questions:

  • To what degree have alternative development projects been able to support the populations in replacing their illicit traditions?
  • Is it possible to direct the cultivation of cannabis towards therapeutic and industrial uses and, in a general way, towards an alternative economy in these regions?
  • What is the role of regional and international cooperation in this domain?

While government ministers Zerouli and El Farouki called eradication programs a success, citing a 55% reduction in cultivation since 2003, human rights advocate Al Khayari characterized that figure as "not realistic." He said new marijuana fields that had not been counted had sprung up in various regions. Merzouki supported this opinion, and denounced human rights violations against farmers whose fields were eradicated. The law enforcement approach should immediately be replaced by a social approach, he said.

Al Khayari added that alternative development projects tried for the past quarter-century have had some successes, but have not managed to blunt marijuana production. Part of the problem, he said, is that such products are limited. Another part of the problem was that the project designers and managers have not taken into consideration the economic problems and cultural traditions of marijuana cultivation areas.

According to Al Khayari, cannabis cultivation in the Rif predates the arrival of the Arabs. Even the porters of the Koran pray to Allah to protect their sacred plant, he noted.

Professor Hmamouchi insisted that lack of basic infrastructure in some producing regions, a result of the traditional marginalization of the Rif, were a fundamental impediment to alternative development programs. Hmamouchi proposed a larger investment in the National Initiative for Human Development to develop new projects that could help the producing regions.

As the debate wound down, human rights advocate Al Khayari proposed legalizing marijuana as the only practical solution for the traditional producing regions, a view that was seconded by Hmamouchi. Legalization should come within a framework that would regulate cultivation and allow for medicinal and industrial (hemp) cultivation, said Al Khayari.

Even Customs Minister Zerouli agreed that it was a provocative idea for the historical producing regions. He said he would discuss the notion in a more profound way with the participation of civil society as a means of reducing illicit drug trafficking.

Meanwhile, cultivation continues, as do eradication and arrests. And some 800,000 Moroccans derive at least part of their income from it.

Australia: Hemp Production Now Legal in New South Wales

American hemp consumers still can't grow their own, but as of this week, they now have one more choice of where to import it from. The state government of New South Wales, Australia's most populous state, Wednesday approved large-scale hemp farming and is set to begin considering license applications under the new plan.

http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/votehemp1.jpg
hemp plants (Luke Zigovitz for votehemp.com)
Hemp, the lanky, minimal-THC cousin to recreational marijuana, produces oils used in foods and balms, as well as fibers that are used in in clothing, cosmetics, livestock and animal feeds, and building materials, among other things. The US DEA considers hemp to be marijuana and bars its cultivation to the US, although due to a federal appeals court ruling, it has been blocked in its efforts to ban hemp imports or the sale of hemp products here.

Hemp is also environmentally friendly. It requires little water and grows quickly. In the US Midwest, feral hemp plants grow in abundance more than 60 years after fields were planted during World War II's "Hemp For Victory" campaign and then destroyed after the war.

"Industrial hemp has the potential to provide farmers with a much-needed additional fast-growing summer crop option that can be used in rotation with winter grain crops," said the Minister for Primary Industries, Ian Macdonald, in remarks reported by the Sydney Morning Herald. "It's a potentially lucrative industry due to its environmentally friendly nature."

Under the Hemp Industry Act regulations, farmers must be licensed, fields must be audited and regularly inspected, and police must test the crop to ensure that it has insignificant THC levels.

Some 200 people have contacted the Department of Primary Industries to inquire about growing hemp, the Morning Herald reported.

Australia will now join Canada, China, and a number of European countries as hemp producers. The US will continue to import the hemp it consumes. Tough luck, American farmers.

Press Release: Licensed Hemp Farmers Heard by US Court of Appeals -- Decision in Lawsuit Could Bring Back Hemp Farming in US

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November, 13, 2008 CONTACT: Adam Eidinger at 202-744-2671 or adam@votehemp.com, or Tom Murphy at 207-542-4998 or tom@votehemp.com Licensed Hemp Farmers Heard by US Court of Appeals Decision in Lawsuit Could Bring Back Hemp Farming in US ST. PAUL, MN – Two North Dakota farmers, who filed a lawsuit in June of 2007 to end the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) ban on commercial hemp farming in the U.S., were heard yesterday, November 12, 2008, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. The oral arguments before the three judge panel centered on the farmer’s assertion that because there is no possibility the hemp crop could be diverted into the market for drugs, the Commerce Clause does not allow DEA to regulate industrial hemp farming in North Dakota. If successful, the landmark lawsuit will lead to the first state-regulated commercial cultivation of industrial hemp in over fifty years. The court’s decision is not expected until next year. The farmers, North Dakota State Rep. David Monson and seed breeder Wayne Hauge, are appealing a decision by the U.S. District Court of North Dakota on a number of grounds; in particular, the District Court ruled that hemp and marijuana are the same, as DEA has wrongly contended. In fact, scientific evidence clearly 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. All court documents related to the case can be found online (http://www.VoteHemp.com/legal_cases_ND.html). Representative Monson observed oral arguments made on his behalf by attorneys Joe Sandler and Tim Purdon. In court Mr. Sandler argued, “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.” The government’s arguments centered on the idea 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. “The plaintiffs should await the DEA’s decision on their application,” said Melissa Patterson on behalf of the government. 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.” Background In 2007 the North Dakota Legislature removed the requirement that state-licensed industrial hemp farmers first obtain DEA permits before growing hemp. The question before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals will be whether or not federal authorities can prosecute state-licensed farmers who grow non-drug oilseed and fiber hemp pursuant to North Dakota state law. Vote Hemp, the nation's leading industrial hemp advocacy group, and its supporters are providing financial support for the lawsuit. If it is successful, states across the nation will be free to implement their own hemp farming laws without fear of federal interference. Learn more about hemp farming and the wide variety of non-drug industrial hemp products manufactured in the U.S. at www.VoteHemp.com and www.TheHIA.org. # # #
Location: 
St. Paul, MN
United States

Hemp: North Dakota Farmers Head to Federal Appeals Court

A pair of North Dakota farmers who want to be able to grow hemp were in US 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Paul, Minnesota, Wednesday to argue their case. Farmers Wayne Hauge and David Monson, who is also a Republican state representative, applied to grow hemp under North Dakota's hemp law but have yet to receive a permit to do so from the DEA. They filed suit in federal district court in Bismarck last year, but lost at the district court level.

The farmers and their attorneys, Joe Sandler and Tim Purdon, are appealing on a number of grounds, including the district court's ruling that hemp and marijuana are the same. The farmers argued that the scientific evidence is clear that hemp is genetically distinct from drug varieties of cannabis and that there are no psychoactive effects from ingesting it.

The DEA, which has jurisdiction over drug scheduling decisions, does not recognize any difference between hemp and marijuana. Under current federal law, anyone who grows industrial hemp for use in foods, lotions, fuels, cloth, and paper, among others, is subject to prosecution under federal marijuana cultivation statutes.

Justice Department attorney Melissa Patterson told the court that state law cannot override federal law. The Constitution gives Congress the power to regulate commerce between states, Patterson said, and that is the basis of federal drug laws. "What states do cannot expand or contract Congress's interstate regulation powers," Patterson told the judges.

But Sandler retorted that that was not the question before the court. "The question here is whether the mere existence of a plant can affect interstate commerce," he said.

In an effort to allay the concerns of the appeals court panel, the farmers and their attorneys argued that North Dakota's law is so strict that their hemp could not be converted into psychoactive marijuana and that the state's monitoring of hemp fields would prevent illicit marijuana cultivation. "It would be the last place in the world that anybody would do anything illegal," Sandler said.

A decision could come down in weeks or months.

U.S. Farmers Suing DEA to Grow Hemp -- Oral Arguments Open to Public

Two North Dakota farmers, who filed a lawsuit in June of 2007 to end the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) ban on commercial hemp farming in the U.S., will be back in court. The farmers, North Dakota State Rep. David Monson and Wayne Hauge, are appealing a decision by the U.S. District Court, District of North Dakota on a number of grounds; in particular, the District Court ruled that hemp and marijuana are the same, as the DEA has wrongly contended. In fact, scientific evidence clearly shows that not only is industrial hemp genetically distinct from drug varieties of Cannabis, but there are also absolutely no psychoactive effects gained from ingesting it. All court documents related to the case can be found online (http://www.VoteHemp.com/legal_cases_ND.html). Representative Monson will appear in court to observe oral arguments made on his behalf by attorneys Joe Sandler and Tim Purdon. If successful, the landmark lawsuit will lead to the first state–regulated commercial cultivation of industrial hemp in over fifty years. The proceedings will immediately be followed by a press conference on the courthouse steps. Background In 2007 the North Dakota Legislature removed the requirement that state-licensed industrial hemp farmers first obtain DEA permits before growing hemp. The question before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals will be whether or not federal authorities can prosecute state-licensed farmers who grow non-drug oilseed and fiber hemp pursuant to North Dakota state law. Vote Hemp, the nation's leading industrial hemp advocacy group, and its supporters are providing financial support for the lawsuit. If it is successful, states across the nation will be free to implement their own hemp farming laws without fear of federal interference. Learn more about hemp farming and the wide variety of non-drug industrial hemp products manufactured in the U.S. at www.VoteHemp.com and www.TheHIA.org.
Date: 
Wed, 11/12/2008 - 9:00am
Location: 
316 N. Robert St.
St. Paul, MN
United States

Press Release: U.S. Farmers Suing DEA to Grow Hemp in Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals on November 12

PRESS RELEASE: October 30, 2008 CONTACT: Adam Eidinger at 202-744-2671 or adam@votehemp.com U.S. Farmers Suing DEA to Grow Hemp in Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals on November 12 Oral Arguments Open to Public; Media Availability after Proceedings ST. PAUL, MN – Two North Dakota farmers, who filed a lawsuit in June of 2007 to end the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) ban on commercial hemp farming in the U.S., will be back in court on Wednesday, November 12, 2008 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Oral arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit begin at 9:00 am CST in the Warren E. Burger Federal Building & U.S. Courthouse at 316 North Robert Street in St. Paul and will immediately be followed by a press conference on the courthouse steps. The farmers, North Dakota State Rep. David Monson and Wayne Hauge, are appealing a decision by the U.S. District Court, District of North Dakota on a number of grounds; in particular, the District Court ruled that hemp and marijuana are the same, as the DEA has wrongly contended. In fact, scientific evidence clearly shows that not only is industrial hemp genetically distinct from drug varieties of Cannabis, but there are also absolutely no psychoactive effects gained from ingesting it. All court documents related to the case can be found online (http://www.VoteHemp.com/legal_cases_ND.html). Representative Monson will appear in court to observe oral arguments made on his behalf by attorneys Joe Sandler and Tim Purdon. If successful, the landmark lawsuit will lead to the first state–regulated commercial cultivation of industrial hemp in over fifty years. WHO: Rep. David Monson, North Dakota House Assistant Majority Leader, licensed hemp farmer Tim Purdon, attorney with Vogel Law Firm of Bismarck, ND and co-counsel for the plaintiffs Joe Sandler, co-counsel for the plaintiffs and legal counsel for Vote Hemp, Inc. Eric Steenstra, President, Vote Hemp, Inc. Lynn Gordon, Owner, French Meadow Café of Minneapolis, MN WHAT: Oral arguments and media availability WHERE: Warren E. Burger Federal Building & U.S. Courthouse, 316 N. Robert St., St. Paul, MN WHEN: Wednesday, November 12, 9:00 am CST for oral arguments (media availability afterwards) Background In 2007 the North Dakota Legislature removed the requirement that state-licensed industrial hemp farmers first obtain DEA permits before growing hemp. The question before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals will be whether or not federal authorities can prosecute state-licensed farmers who grow non-drug oilseed and fiber hemp pursuant to North Dakota state law. Vote Hemp, the nation's leading industrial hemp advocacy group, and its supporters are providing financial support for the lawsuit. If it is successful, states across the nation will be free to implement their own hemp farming laws without fear of federal interference. Learn more about hemp farming and the wide variety of non-drug industrial hemp products manufactured in the U.S. at www.VoteHemp.com and www.TheHIA.org. # # #
Location: 
ND
United States

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