Hemp

RSS Feed for this category

Sober North Dakotans Hope to Legalize Hemp

Location: 
Osnabrock, ND
United States
Publication/Source: 
The New York Times
URL: 
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/21/us/21hemp.html?em&ex=1185163200&en=187b22d1791d9eda&ei=5087%0A

S.D. Farmer Struggling to Grow Hemp

Location: 
SD
United States
Publication/Source: 
Forbes.com (NY)
URL: 
http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2007/07/11/ap3901737.html

Home State Blues, or What's an Itinerant Activist To Do?

Your itinerant Drug War Chronicle has been bouncing around North America for the last few years, spending significant amounts of time in Washington state, British Columbia, Mexico, Northern California, and my home state, South Dakota. The traveling is nice, but I’ve felt politically homeless, as if my presence anywhere were too fleeting for me to be able to do local or state-level politics, and that’s a frustration. So, as much as I would rather be elsewhere, I’m thinking I need to hunker down here in Dakotaland and try to get something done. It is not friendly territory. South Dakota is the only state where voters rejected an initiative to allow the medicinal use of marijuana. Although it was a close vote, 52% to 48%, it was still a loss. Medical marijuana bills (introduced by an acquaintance of mine) early in the decade went nowhere. The state has one of the fastest growing prison populations right now, thanks largely to its approach to methamphetamine use. Marijuana possession is routinely punished by $500 fines, and there is a good chance of jail time, too. (In fact, you may be better off being convicted of drunk driving, if my local court records are any indication.) And, most hideously of all, South Dakota is the only state I know of that has an “internal possession” law. That means when the police arrest you with a joint, they make you submit to a urine test, then charge you with an additional offense if you test positive. South Dakota judges also routinely sign drug search warrants that include forced drug tests. I know one gentleman currently serving a five-year prison sentence for “internal possession” of methamphetamine metabolites, and no, it wasn’t a plea bargain. That was the only charge they had. South Dakota’s drug reform community (which can probably be counted on the fingers of one hand) seems beaten down, but I think I’m going to reach out and see if I can’t get anyone interested in a four-pronged drug reform legislative package: Hemp. Our neighbors in North Dakota have passed a bill allowing farmers to grow hemp and are currently suing the DEA to force it out of the way. South Dakota farmers would like to make profits, too. Medical marijuana. Yeah, we lost a close one last year, and it’s never been able to get any traction in the legislature. But I think we should make them deal with it again. Our neighbors in Montana seem to be surviving medical marijuana. Marijuana decriminalization. Does South Dakota really think pot possession is more serious than drunk driving? Does the legislature understand the lifelong impact of pot conviction on its constituents? Our neighbors in Nebraska decriminalized pot back in the 1970s, and the cornfields are still standing. Repeal of the internal possession laws. Criminalizing someone for the content of his blood or urine is just wrong. Winning any of these will be an uphill battle, and perhaps even linking hemp to broader drug reform issues would spell its doom here. But I think it’s every good activist’s responsibility to do what he can to slow down the drug war juggernaut, so I’m going to give it a shot. What are you doing in your state?
Location: 
United States

Wear It. Eat It. Drive It. Just Don't Grow It: Ann Woolner

Location: 
United States
Publication/Source: 
Bloomberg
URL: 
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601039&refer=columnist_woolner&sid=aEbhDVWvxWwk

Press Release: New Hemp Snack Bar Profits to Support Hemp Farming Lawsuit

Contacts: Skeet Freelove, Ruth’s Hemp Foods, Inc., [email protected], (877) 359-4508, ext. 5 or Adam Eidinger, Vote Hemp, [email protected], (202) 744-2671 Uncle Sam Says, "I Want You to Vote Hemp!" Ruth's Hemp Foods Enlists Uncle Sam to Launch Special Edition Hemp Bar in Support of Vote Hemp's Efforts on Behalf of U.S. Farmers. Toronto, Ontario (July 4, 2007) – Ruth’s Hemp Foods is proud to introduce a special edition hemp snack bar to promote support of Vote Hemp. Vote Hemp, a Washington, DC-based industrial hemp advocacy group, is funding the legal costs of two North Dakota farmers, Dave Monson and Wayne Hauge, in the farmers’ lawsuit against the US Drug Enforcement Agency. 100 percent of all profits from the first three months’ sale of the Vote Hemp Bar will go directly to Vote Hemp. Thereafter, 20 percent of the bar’s profits will be donated to Vote Hemp for the entire life of the bar. Ruth Shamai, president of Ruth's Hemp Foods and a supporter of Vote Hemp's tireless work in the US, was a key activist in the cadre composed of leading environmentalists, agriculture experts and entrepreneurs that lobbied successfully for the legalization of industrial hemp production in Canada in 1998. "The United States government should get past all the drug association rhetoric and take a clear-eyed look at low-THC industrial hemp for its many valuable assets, including it being a healthy, nutrient-dense food,” says Ruth. “And, as a bonus, it is a very low-impact, environmentally-friendly crop.” “I know firsthand what Vote Hemp is trying to accomplish," adds Ruth. "This is how we, as a company, can do something to show our support for Vote Hemp and, by extension, for all the farmers in the US who simply want to be able to lawfully grow low-THC industrial hemp; a crop dating back to 8000 BC that has been of significant importance to many nations, including the United States. It’s true, colonial America had mandatory hemp farming; US Presidents Washington and Jefferson both grew hemp; the first US flag was sewn from hemp canvas; and, the first two drafts of the US Declaration of Independence were written on hemp paper. I think the launch of our Vote Hemp Bar coincides nicely with the United States’ Independence Day. It's time to give the US farmer freedom to choose a crop that, in Canada and elsewhere, has proven to be an economically viable crop.” "When Ruth said that she wanted to make a Vote Hemp Bar we were ecstatic," says Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp. "I was even more blown away when I tasted its delicious Red, White and Blueberry flavor. We want to thank Ruth for having the vision to support US farmers' right to grow hemp. On behalf of our thousands of supporters we encourage leading natural foods stores to carry the Vote Hemp Bar," adds Steenstra, who co-founded Vote Hemp in 2000. "This is an easy thing retailers can do to help resume US hemp farming and their customers will love it, too.” About Ruth’s Hemp Foods, Inc. Ruth's Hemp Foods, based in Toronto, Ontario, pioneered the use of hemp in food in North America, making Hemp Bars, Hemp Protein Powders, Omega Burgers™ (hemp-based vegetarian burger patties), Hemp Tortilla Chips, Hemp Salsa, Hemp Oil Salad Dressings, Certified Organic Hemp Oil, Certified Organic SoftHemp™ (shelled hempseed) in addition to other hemp food items. Ruth's Hemp Foods manufacturers the most extensive line of hemp foods available—distributed throughout the US and Canada—making tasty, nutritious products that are packed with essential fatty acids and protein, and are always free of GMOs, refined sugars, hydrogenated oils, trans fats, artificial preservatives, fillers and colors. For additional information, please visit: www.ruthshempfoods.com About Vote Hemp Vote Hemp is a national, nonprofit advocacy group dedicated to a free US market for low-THC industrial hemp and to changes in current federal and state laws to allow US farmers to once again grow this important agricultural crop. Vote Hemp is working to end the federal prohibition on industrial hemp farming. Vote Hemp also works to defend against any new laws, regulations or policies that would prohibit or restrict hemp commerce or imports. For additional information, please visit: www.votehemp.com # # # *NOTE TO EDITORS AND REPORTERS: Digital high-resolution images available at: www.ruthshempfoods.com/votehemp/media The June 18, 2007 federal lawsuit filed against the DEA by North Dakota farmers David Monson and Wayne Hauge is available at: http://www.votehemp.com/PR/06-18-07_north_dakota_farmers.html
Location: 
United States

The Battle Over Hemp on an Indian Reservation

Location: 
SD
United States
Publication/Source: 
The New York Times
URL: 
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/03/arts/television/03sile.html

Feature: North Dakota Farmers Sue DEA Over Hemp Growing Ban

Two North Dakota farmers Monday filed a lawsuit in federal court in Bismarck seeking to overturn the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) ban on growing industrial hemp in the United States. The lawsuit seeks a court order barring the DEA from charging the farmers with a criminal violation of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/hempharvest.jpg
hemp being harvested (courtesy Wikipedia)
Hemp products are legal in the US, but the DEA ban prevents US farmers from growing it, meaning domestic hemp product makers must turn to suppliers in countries where it is legal to grow, including Canada, China, and most of Europe.

Hemp is a member of the cannabis family, but unlike the marijuana consumed by recreational and medical marijuana users, contains only tiny amounts of the psychoactive substance that gets marijuana users "high." But the DEA argues that hemp is marijuana and that the CSA gives it authority to ban it.

The farmers and their attorneys disagree, pointing out that the CSA contains language explicitly exempting hemp fiber, seed oil, and seed incapable of germination from the definition of "marihuana" and are thus not controlled substances under that law. That same language was used to allow the legal import of hemp into the US as a result of a 2004 federal court decision siding with the hemp industry against the DEA.

But while the language of the CSA appears clear, ambiguities remain, said Adam Eidinger, a spokesman for the hemp industry lobby group Vote Hemp. "There is a contradiction in the law when it comes to growing the plant, because you can't grow the plant without producing seeds and flowers, and the DEA claims the act gives it authority over those parts of the plant," he told Drug War Chronicle. "In this case, we have to look at Congress's intent in passing the law, and we think it is clear that Congress intended that hemp be excluded," he said.

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/hempforvictory1.jpg
WWII-era federal film encouraging hemp growing for war effort
Monday's lawsuit is only the latest move in a decade-old struggle by North Dakota farmers to grow hemp. The state first passed hemp legislation in 1997, but things really began moving when state Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson, a strong hemp supporter, issued the first state permits to grow hemp to farmers Wayne Hauge and Dave Monson (who is also a Republican state legislator) on February 6. One week later, Hauge and Monson sent a request to the DEA requesting licenses to grow their crops and noting that they needed a response by early April in order to get the crops in the ground this year.

The DEA failed to respond in a timely fashion. According to a March 27 DEA letter to Ag Commissioner Johnson, seven weeks was not enough time for the agency to arrive at a ruling on the request. That letter was the final straw for the North Dakotans.

"We are asking the DEA to do nothing, which is exactly what they have done for ten years," said Tim Purdon, one of the attorneys working for Monson and Hauge, at a Monday press conference announcing the lawsuit. "North Dakota's rules no longer require a DEA license, so we are basically asking the court to tell the DEA to leave our farmers alone."

"I applied for my North Dakota state license in January and was hopeful that the DEA would act quickly and affirm my right to plant industrial hemp this year. Unfortunately, the DEA has not responded in any way other than to state that it would take them a lot more time than the window of time I have to import seed and plant the crop," said Rep. Monson. "It appears that the DEA really doesn't want to work with anyone to resolve the issue," Monson added.

"I met with the DEA in February and presented copies of the licenses along with the applications from Hauge and Monson and the checks for the application fee and asked them to please review those applications as soon as possible," said Commissioner Johnson, who noted he had also met with the agency the previous year in an effort to smooth the way. "The DEA did not respond. It was a de facto denial of the applications, which led us to the point of filing this lawsuit," he said. "My strong opinion is that the DEA needs to get off this kick of viewing industrial hemp and marijuana as identical. They need to exercise their discretion to view them differently, like every other industrial country does."

In addition to its obstinate refusal to differentiate between hemp and marijuana, the DEA has also expressed concerns that lawmen would be unable to tell the difference between the two and that people would hide marijuana plants in the middle of hemp fields. That's all bunk, said California cannabis and hemp cultivation expert Chris Conrad.

"First off, this is not a problem for Canadian, British, German, French, and Spanish police, so why are American cops so incompetent compared to the rest of the world, and why should we coddle them for that rather than demand they do their jobs?" he asked. "Also, the fields are registered and police will have the power to enter and inspect at will, so it would be stupid to tell the cops where you're growing, then try to hide marijuana in the field," Conrad pointed out.

The two crops are grown differently for different ends, Conrad noted. "Marijuana is grown for flowering branches, whereas hemp is grown for either stalk or seeds. The stalk crop can be harvested before it flowers, so there would never, ever be any marijuana buds produced." Also, Conrad pointed out, hemp grows straight up and the plants are spaced only a few inches apart, while marijuana plants are shorter and bushier. "Marijuana plants look very different from hemp plants and would be conspicuous from the other plants, especially in an aerial flyover where you would see the area around the marijuana being cleared out from the hemp plants. It's very easy to identify a marijuana patch in a hemp field, and if there is a marijuana plant, it hempifies [is pollinated by the hemp plants] and goes away."

The science and agriculture of hemp probably have little to do with the DEA's intransigent insistence that hemp is marijuana, said Vote Hemp's Eidinger. "This is part of the culture war," he suggested. "When Jack Herer published "The Emperor Has No Clothes" in the early 1980s, the DEA began seeing the call for industrial hemp as part of weakening the links of the criminalization of marijuana." Publication of Herer's book led to a revitalization of interest in industrial hemp, but also associated hemp with the marijuana culture, rather than staid farmers like Hauge and Monson.

Regardless of the past, the state of North Dakota and its farmers are now tired of being collateral damage in the war on drugs, and now they have initiated the legal action that could resolve the issue once and for all.

Vote Hemp Press Release: North Dakota Farmers File Lawsuit Against DEA to Grow Industrial Hemp

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, June 18, 2007 CONTACT: Adam Eidinger, T: 202-744-2671 or E: [email protected], or Tom Murphy, T: 207-542-4998, E: [email protected] North Dakota Farmers File Lawsuit Against DEA to Grow Industrial Hemp Plaintiffs Seek Federal Recognition of State-Issued Hemp Farming Licenses BISMARCK, ND – Two North Dakota farmers filed a lawsuit today in U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota in an effort to end the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) obstruction of commercial hemp farming in the United States. If successful, the legal action would result in licensed hemp farmers receiving assurances that no federal agency could hold them criminally liable under the Controlled Substances Act. Vote Hemp’s grassroots supporters are funding the legal action. A copy of the complaint is available online at: http://www.votehemp.com/legal_cases_ND.html. The farmers – State Rep. David Monson from Osnabrock and Wayne Hauge from Ray – were issued their state licenses to grow industrial hemp from North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson in February 2007. At that time the farmers applied for a DEA permit to grow industrial hemp and import live seed. Over the next few months, however, the agency’s inaction on the applications fueled frustration in North Dakota’s legislature. When lawmakers concluded that DEA had no intention of working cooperatively with the state’s first-in-the-nation hemp farming rules, the North Dakota legislature voted overwhelmingly to drop the DEA licensing requirement from the statute. “I applied for my North Dakota state license in January and was hopeful that DEA would act quickly and affirm my right to plant industrial hemp this year. Unfortunately, DEA has not responded in any way other than to state that it would take them a lot more time than the window of time I have to import seed and plant the crop,” said Rep. David Monson, who is the Assistant Majority (Republican) Leader. “It appears that DEA really doesn’t want to work with anyone to resolve the issue,” Monson added. One of the central arguments in the litigation is that industrial hemp is defined to be those varieties of Cannabis that have no drug value and are cultivated exclusively for fiber and seed. Although useless as a drug crop, industrial hemp plants are distinct varieties of Cannabis sativa L., the same species from which marijuana varieties come. DEA considers industrial hemp plants to be “marihuana,” a controlled substance under Schedule I of the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA), 21 U.S.C. §§ 801 et seq., the possession or production of which is subject to severe criminal penalties under that law, including property forfeiture. “We are asking that DEA to do nothing, exactly what they have done for ten years,” says Tim Purdon one of the attorneys working for Monson and Hauge. “North Dakota’s rules no longer require a DEA permit so we are basically asking the court to tell DEA to leave our farmers alone.” The express language of the CSA has specifically provided that hemp fiber, seed oil and seed incapable of germination are exempt from the definition of “marihuana” and are thus not controlled substances under that law. By virtue of this exemption, it is currently lawful under federal law – and has been for almost 70 years – to import into the U.S., sell within the U.S., and make and sell products made from, the excluded parts of the Cannabis plant (i.e., hemp fiber, stalk, seed oil and seed incapable of germination). The farmers seek a declaration that the CSA does not apply to the industrial hemp plants they seek to cultivate pursuant to state law because: (1) only hemp fiber, stalk, sterilized seed and seed oil, items expressly exempted from the CSA, will enter the marketplace; and (2) the industrial hemp to be grown will be useless as a drug crop due to North Dakota legal requirements for extremely low THC levels. Further, to the extent the DEA attempts to argue that, despite these facts, the CSA does apply to hemp farming under North Dakota law, this would be an unconstitutional federal restraint on commerce occurring purely within the borders of North Dakota. “I want to grow hemp because it will fill a niche market in numerous areas,” says fourth generation farmer and certified public accountant Wayne Hauge. “In recent years there has been strong growth in demand for hemp seeds in the U.S., but the American farmer is being left out while Canadian, European and Chinese farmers are filling the void created by our outdated federal policy.” Last year, just over 48,000 acres of hemp were grown in Canada, primarily in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, provinces that border North Dakota. Hemp farmers in Canada averaged $250 CDN per acre in profit in 2006, according to the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance, an association of businesses, farmers and researchers. Hemp is a good rotational crop with the ability to reduce weeds in future cereal crops. Very few chemicals, if any, are required to grow the crop which is considered a good alternative to those with harmful environmental impacts such as cotton, tobacco and soy. In the largest hemp producing country, China, which grows 2 million acres, hemp hurds are processed into lightweight boards, and hemp fibers, already used in the paper and automotive industries, are finding new uses as reinforcement in plastics for products such as window frames and floor coverings. (In fact, some of these innovative products will be used on a large scale at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, according to news reports.) In Sweden, companies including IKEA, Volvo and Saab have shown interest in hemp fibers and hurds for use in vehicle interiors and furniture. In the UK, Germany and the Netherlands, considerable investments are being made to develop utilize hemp fiber in composites which are used to manufacture auto parts for BMW, Chrysler and Mercedes. In Canada, Germany and Japan, businesses are investigating reinforcing Polylactide (PLA) plastic with hemp fibers in order to widen the technology’s field of applications. # # # Vote Hemp is a national, single-issue, non-profit organization dedicated to the acceptance of and a free market for low-THC industrial hemp and to changes in current law to allow U.S. farmers to once again grow the crop. More information about hemp legislation and the crop's many uses may be found at www.VoteHemp.com or www.HempIndustries.org. BETA SP or 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: 
Bismarck, ND
United States

A New Suit By Farmers Against the DEA Illustrates Why The War on Drugs Should Not Include a War on Hemp

Location: 
ND
United States
Publication/Source: 
FindLaw (CA)
URL: 
http://writ.news.findlaw.com/commentary/20070619_colburn.html

North Dakota Farmers File Lawsuit Against DEA Over Hemp Ban

This afternoon, I particpated in a tele-news conference held in Bismarck, North Dakota, to announce the filing of a federal lawsuit by two North Dakota farmers (including a Republican state representative!) against the DEA for its refusal to issue permits allowing them to grow hemp. North Dakota has passed state legislation permitting hemp growing under strict regulations, and its hemp-friendly Agriculture Commissioner, Roger Johnson, has promulgated the necessary guidelines. Johnson issued state permits to the two farmers months ago and sought DEA approval, but DEA did nothing. Now, the farmers are suing. This case could be a big one, once and for all getting the DEA out of the way of commercial hemp farming. I'll be writing about this in a feature article this week, but in the meantime, you can check out VoteHemp's North Dakota information page here for more detailed info on the case. Too bad somebody has to sue the DEA to get it to uphold the Controlled Substance Act, which specifically exempts hemp from the marijuana prohibition.
Location: 
United States

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, 2015 Drug War Killings, 2016 Drug War Killings, 2017 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Pill Testing, Safer Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Kratom, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psilocybin / Magic Mushrooms, Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School