The Columbia Tribune
reports on the ongoing challenges faced by North Dakota farmers seeking to grow industrial hemp. Though the state of North Dakota has passed legislation authorizing hemp cultivation, farmers must obtain approval from DEA, which isn't exactly fast-tracking this.
Monson plans to raise hemp on only 10 acres at first, a demonstration crop, but under federal regulations, the acreage still must be completely fenced and reported by GPS coordinates. All hemp sales also must be reported.
"That’s a per-acre cost of about $400, and that would be prohibitive," Monson said.
So basically the DEA hasn't decided for sure, but in case they do allow hemp cultivation, they've created roadblocks to make it unprofitable.
Here's ONDCP's Tom Riley explaining the logic of this:
Growers could hide pot plants in hemp fields, complicating agents’ efforts to find them, said Tom Riley, of the White House Office on National Drug Control Policy.
"You have legitimate farmers who want to experiment with a new crop," Riley said. "But you have another group, very enthusiastic, who want to allow cultivation of hemp because they believe it will lead to a de facto legalization of marijuana.
"The last thing law enforcement people need is for the cultivation of marijuana-looking plants to spread," he said. "Are we going to ask them to go through row by row, field by field, to distinguish between legal hemp and marijuana?"
After being humiliated
in The New York Times
, it's impressive that they still have the nerve to raise this backwards argument. Cross-pollination would decimate any commercial marijuana in proximity to a hemp field. You can't mix them, Tom Riley. Stop saying that. Seriously, stop.
For a period of time, I assumed that they were simply ignorant of the cross-pollination issue. Perhaps upon coming to understand it, they would endorse hemp cultivation, which more or less ensures the absence of commercial marijuana growing in its vicinity. But now that this issue has been exposed in The Times
, it seems much more likely that they're willfully ignoring it and proceeding with their usual nonsense.
The question, therefore, is why? They have one argument against industrial hemp, and it makes absolutely no sense. It's been proven to be comically wrong, and they have no other anti-hemp talking points to fall back on. When legitimate farmers with no interest in the drug culture ask for permission to grow hemp as an agricultural commodity, why do ONDCP and DEA grasp in desperation for even the most pitiful justifications to oppose them?
The answer is that for decades they've arbitrarily denied American farmers the right to participate in a multi-billion dollar industry. They are drug warriors waging battle against economic activities over which they hold no constitutional authority. As with so many other colossal drug war errors, to stop now would be to acknowledge the childish stubbornness and rank incompetance that have motivated their actions from the beginning.
Just another thing we shouldn't even be arguing about. It's not even a goddamn drug.