DOJ Asks for Dismissal of Hemp Suit 7/31/98

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Kris Lotlikar

Last May, several Kentucky farmers banded together and filed suit against the United States government in an attempt to make industrial hemp a legal crop to grow in Kentucky. The U.S Department of Justice has asked for this suit to be thrown out of court in an effort to block the farmers progress. The Attorney General argues that even if federal law allowed the farming of hemp, state laws would still prohibit the growing of the plant. The Justice Department also stated that the growers cannot claim to have suffered from this law because those farmer were never allowed to grow hemp and were therefore not forced to change the way they do business.

The Kentucky Hemp Growers Cooperative Association lawyer, Burl McCoy, told The Week Online that he is not at all surprised at the Justice Department taking this sort of action. McCoy, who is a former U.S assistant attorney and a former Major in the U.S Reserves, told The Week Online, "They have us in sort of a catch-22." Both the state and federal governments resort to the same excuse, stating that even if growing hemp were legalized under their respective jurisdiction, it would still be illegal under the others. Association president Andy Graves told the Lexington Herald- Leader, "The truth is, this is their way of avoiding the issues. These guys don't want to know the truth, and for them to make an argument that hemp is bad, hemp is wrong, and hemp is marijuana would be to admit that 27 other countries we recognize are wrong to allow it. They don't want to argue the case because there is no rational argument to put up."

Many of the farmers in Kentucky, which is still largely a farming state, are trying to prepare for the future by embracing this new crop. McCoy stated to The Week Online, "Kentucky is still a grain state. However you may feel about tobacco, which is the largest cash crop in Kentucky, its demand is diminishing. Small farms are going to need a crop to fall back on in the future." Graves summed up his frustration in a comment to the Herald-Leader, "I don't like it. It offends me that my own government is acting like this."

For more information, check out the Kentucky Hemp Growers Cooperative Assoc. at http://www.hempgrowers.com, and our own pieces at http://www.drcnet.org/wol/048.html#ky-hemp and http://www.drcnet.org/wol/042.html#kentucky.

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Issue #52, 7/31/98 NJ NEP Workers' Conviction Upheld in Appeals Court | Oakland City Council Votes to Shield Local Cannabis Dispensary from Federal Prosecution Controversy Over Searches | DOJ Asks for Dismissal of Hemp Suit | Feds Indict Peter McWilliams, Todd McCormick and Others, Alleging Vast Conspiracy to Supply Medical Marijuana | Peaceful Prison Protest Earns Solitary Confinement | Action Request: The Tax Stamp Controversy | New Zealand Health Ministry: Pot Poses No Serious Risk | Newsbriefs | Link of the Week | A Campaign for Substance Awareness | Debating Points | Office of National Drug Control Policy Hard at Work | Editorial: The Pompano Beach Twelve
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