Kentucky Gets its Hemp Seed as DEA Backs Off

It's a done deal. A UPS truck delivered more than 250 pounds of hemp seed to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture this afternoon. It took a lawsuit and a lot of political pressure on DEA head Michele Leonhart, but the agency has backed away from its initial refusal to allow the seeds to be imported.

Hemp seeds will soon be sprouting in Kentucky (
As the Associated Press reported this afternoon, the seeds arrived at the department's headquarters in Frankfort, the state capital. They had been being held hostage at a US Customs warehouse in Louisville after being imported from Italy. At the last minute, the DEA had refused to issue an import license for the seed, which was destined for research authorized under the omnibus farm bill passed earlier this year.

That prompted an intense and angry reaction from state officials, who promptly sued the DEA, the Justice Department, and Customs in federal court, and from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who just happens to be from Kentucky. It's not clear exactly what went down, but after two Wednesday meetings, the DEA started singing a different tune.

One meeting brought together lawyers for the federal government and the state of Kentucky before a federal judge; the other was face-to-face between McConnell and Leonhart. By the end of the day Wednesday, the DEA had backed down.

The DEA just ain't getting no respect these days. Leonhart was recently chastised by her boss, Attorney General Eric Holder, over her remarks before Congress dissing the administration's moves to reduce the reliance on mandatory minimum sentencing, the Drug Policy Alliance is calling for her head, and drug expert Mark Kleiman is  suggesting maybe it's time to disband the agency. Couldn't happen to a more deserving set of folks. 

Frankfort, KY
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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The DEA Didn't Back Off!

Everybody seems to be saying the opposite, but the DEA DIDN'T back off.  They actually won this battle. They insisted that a permit is required for hemp because it's a controlled substance, and they won. The state had to get a permit from the DEA to get their hemp seeds back. Granted, the DEA didn't delay the permit for years, this time.  But they have surely set a precedent, and regardless of any acts of Congress, future hemp growers will need to get permission from the DEA. I'd call that a win.  The only way the DEA would have been backing off is if they had acknowledged the new law regarding hemp and had agreed a permit is no longer needed to grow it.  DEA - 1, Congress - 0.

Keep the DEA Out of Agriculture

We have an agency known as the Department of Agriculture (USDA) that’s authorized by Congress to deal with seeds, food crops and dairy products.  The fact that the gangrenous arm of the criminal justice system known as the DEA is intervening in agricultural production should raise policy concerns over who has the real authority over food and natural fiber production.

The DEA certainly believes they have authority over hemp production.  They issue permits because hemp contains trace amounts of cannabinoids in quantities too small to be psychoactive.  Yet, dairy products, which unquestionably fall under USDA regulation, are known to contain trace amounts of morphine.  Some food experts even jokingly claim that the casomorphins in cheese lead to a cheese addiction.  Maybe cheese was the original gateway drug.  So where is the DEA when it comes to saving humanity from the perils of cheese addiction?  Probably wolfing down cheeseburgers on lunch breaks.

I fond this on the web I

I fond this on the web I guess the shame was to much for this guy to live with. Tomorrow is my last day as an employee working for the DEA. Every time I read a quote from Michele Leonhart I become more and more disgusted. I cannot morally and ethically continue to work for such an organization. I cannot support an organization that supports mandatory minimum sentences, I cannot support an organization that supports straight up LIES like the DEA spouts on a daily basis. I cannot support an organization that targets non-violent citizens for simply enjoying a smoke. I cannot do this job anymore. I can't do it. I hope Michele Leonhart gets fired and the DEA loses its funding. Law enforcement needs to focus on REAL problems in society.

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