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Vote Hemp Press Release: Hemp Farming To Be Studied In New Mexico

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, March 6, 2007 CONTACT: Robert Jones, NMHemp.org, 505-425-6825, [email protected] Hemp Farming To Be Studied In New Mexico SANTA FE, NM - The ditch weed whose name dare not be spoken can now be talked about openly in polite society. Lawmakers in Santa Fe have acknowledged and declared that hemp is not marijuana. The idea of industrial hemp farming and production has been given the stamp of approval and can now be considered mainstream in New Mexico. http://www.votehemp.com/state/new_mexico.html A memorial (HR49) has passed the New Mexico House of Representatives requesting and urging the New Mexico State Board of Regents to undertake a study on the viability of a legal industrial hemp industry in New Mexico. In addition, the memorial urges the U.S. Congress "to recognize industrial hemp as a valuable agricultural commodity, to define industrial hemp in federal law as a non-psychoactive and genetically identifiable species of the genus Cannabis and acknowledge that allowing and encouraging farmers to produce industrial hemp will improve the balance of trade by promoting domestic sources of industrial hemp and [that hemp] can make a positive contribution to the issues of global climate change and carbon sequestration." Lawmakers urged that an "in-depth economic analysis address the benefits of a legal hemp industry in New Mexico and the long-term impacts of establishing proper permitting and licensing procedures. The economic analysis shall attempt to determine the costs and benefits associated with encouraging economic development in various areas, including textiles, pulping products for paper, biocomposites and building materials, animal bedding, nutritional products for livestock, industries related to seed extraction and resins for potential biofuels, lubricants, paints and inks, cosmetics, body care products and nutritional supplements." "The legislature has spoken," says Albuquerque attorney John McCall, "saying that New Mexico lawmakers are on-board in support of industrial hemp farming, and encouraging our scientists and educators to look at the subject without fear of retribution by law enforcement or negative conventional wisdom. All of the benefits of hemp can now be explored in a legal forum." "This will give people all over the country the ability to approach the federal Drug Enforcement Authority to demand that industrial hemp be removed from their schedule of narcotic drugs and be allowed to once again become one of our major cash crops in the United States," according to McCall. According to the bill that passed yesterday by a vote of 59-2, industrial hemp refers to varieties of Cannabis that have less than three-tenths of one percent THC, and that it is not to be confused with marijuana. Industrial hemp is currently produced in more than thirty nations, including Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany, Romania, Australia and China. The United States is, by far, the largest consumer of industrial hemp products. Our manufacturers import millions of dollars worth of hemp seed and fiber every year and annual sales of hemp foods in the United States is growing rapidly. The New Mexico legislature has recognized that industrial hemp is a high-value, low-input crop that is not genetically modified, requires no pesticides, can be dryland farmed and uses less fertilizer than wheat or corn - both of which are grown here. Eric Steenstra, the President of Vote Hemp, the leading national industrial hemp advocacy group, expressed his congratulations. "I want to thank Rep. Begaye and the states' industrial hemp supporters for making New Mexico the 15th state to take a position in favor of returning to commercial industrial hemp farming. I hope New Mexico's Congressional delegation acts on the overwhelming support the state has shown for hemp." More information about industrial hemp in New Mexico can be found on the NMHemp.org Web site.
Location: 
Santa Fe, NM
United States

Drug Policy Forum of Kansas Update

February 16, 2007 -Drug Policy Forum: Lenexa KS, Sunday, Feb. 18th, 3 p.m. -KS Legislature: HB 2359 Sale of Drug Paraphernalia -Medical Marijuana: Research News & DEA Ruling -Lou Dobbs: Drug War is Failure -North Dakota: Hemp Licenses Issued -Next Volunteer Meeting February 24, 1 p.m. The Drug Policy Forum of Kansas is a 501(c)(3) organization. Donations are tax-deductible. Thank you to everyone who donated to DPFKS in 2006! Your contribution does make a difference! Drug Policy Forum This Weekend Tri-County Libertarians present: The War on Drugs: No-brainer or Insanity? Sunday, February 18, 3 p.m., with Laura Green, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Forum of Kansas and Brian Leininger, of Law Enforcement against Prohibition. Lenexa Community Center (AB room) 13420 Oak Street; Lenexa, KS 66215 Law Proposes Making Sales of Paraphernalia Illegal in KS HB 2359, a bill that would clarify certain definitions of drug paraphernalia and would increase penalties for possessing certain drug paraphernalia if the offense occurs within 1,000 feet of a school. Read our policy paper on this bill and why the legislature is short-changing Kansas kids. (Hint to Lawmakers in Topeka: Drug control strategies that include effective drug education are what deter kids from using drugs, not more laws!) Journal Neurology Reports Marijuana Useful for Intense Pain This month the medical journal Neurology reports on research conducted by Dr. Donald Abrams, of the University of California at San Francisco using smoked marijuana in HIV patients. The research found that; "Smoked cannabis was well tolerated and effectively relieved chronic neuropathic pain from HIV-associated sensory neuropathy." Patients suffering from peripheral neuropathy can feel as if their hands and feet are on fire, or as if they're being stabbed with a knife. Neuropathic pain — that is, pain caused by damage to the nerves — is also common in several other illnesses, including multiple sclerosis Since the advent of AIDS, medical practitioners have been able to do very little to ease the suffering caused by neuropathy. Indeed, there are no FDA-approved treatments for peripheral neuropathy in HIV patients. Even powerful, dangerous, and highly addictive narcotic painkillers are often ineffective in mitigating this pain. Read the abstract of the journal article here. This is one more article in a long list of medical research validating what patients have been telling doctors--smoked marijuana is effective medicine in some cases. Why then does the government continue to deny and arrest people who use marijuana with the recommendation of their physician? "I can state confidently, as a physician with extensive practice and specialized expertise in pain management that marijuana can prove, and has proven, medically useful to at least some chronic pain patients." --Dr. Richard Gracer, Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians and a Diplomate of the American Academy of Pain Management. DEA Administrative Judge Overturns Government Pot Farm Monopoly Professor Lyle Craker of the University of Mass., Amherst, working with the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) started petitioning the DEA six years ago to allow him to grow marijuana at the University. He wanted to use the plant to supply researchers around the country who had legitimate research purposes, but were unable to obtain it from the government's supply. The DEA, citing the University of Mississippi's 36-year monopoly on growing "official" marijuana, refused Prof. Craker's request. So he sued them. Opining that the government's supply of marijuana was 'inadequate' for researchers who have a valid need to use the substance in research, the judge ruled in favor of Professor Craker's application. "For too long the DEA has inappropriately inserted politics into a regulatory process that should be left to the FDA and medical science," said Allen Hopper, an attorney with the ACLU Drug Law Reform project who help litigate the case in a press release. Now it's up to DEA top Administrator Karen Tandy who has 20 days to either agree or disagree with the judge's ruling. Learn more in the Judge's decision here. The University of Mississippi grows marijuana for research and also to supply the 5 remaining legal federal medical marijuana patients who receive 300 "joints" per month from the government under the Investigational New Drug program. The program was abruptly halted by former President Bush when thousands of applications from persons who were HIV-positive, or had AIDS, applied to receive the drug in the early 1990s. CNN's Conservative Host Calls War on Drugs "Forgotten" Lou Dobbs this week called the Drug Czar to task for suggesting that the war on drugs was being won, writing in a commentary piece on the network's web site, "Obviously, John Walters and I are not looking at the same statistics." Dobbs called the more than 22 million people who abuse drugs in the US and the lack of available treatment "incredible." He goes on to say "We're fighting a war that is inflicting even greater casualties than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and, incredibly, costing even more money." Dobbs calls for more treatment as the "only option" to "victory" in this war. Read the entire report on the CNN web site here. North Dakota Issues Licenses for Hemp Farmers According to a press release by the North Dakota Agriculture department the first license to grow industrial hemp, under a law passed by the legislature last year, was issued to state Rep. David Monson (R-Osnabrock). The assistant majority leader, who is also a farmer and strong proponent of industrial hemp, and other North Dakota would-be hemp farmers will now seek registration from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). But given the agency's hostile attitude toward hemp approval seems unlikely. Recently, the DEA refused to waive the non-refundable annual $2,293 registration fee, despite Johnson's request that it do so. Just this week, the North Dakota House passed two resolutions on the issue, urging Congress and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration to allow farmers to grow the crop. At the federal level, Congress has tentatively waded into the debate, with pro-hemp legislation introduced by Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul. Although North Dakota has moved to make hemp farming legal, it remains illegal under federal law. While hemp products may be sold and consumed in the United States, federal law prohibits growing it here, so American farmers are forced to stand by and watch as imported hemp products cross the border from Canada and come overseas from Europe, where it is legally grown. Hemp can grow in all of the fifty US states. Kansas has not taken up the issue. Next Volunteer Meeting Saturday, February 24, 1 p.m. at the DPFKS offices 941 Kentucky Street, Lawrence, KS 785-841-8278 for more information. Won't you help us promote innovative drug policies by sending your tax-deductible donation today? Add yourself to our mailing list by going to our web site www.dpfks.org. To unsubscribe, reply to this message with the word unsubscribe Our mailing address is DPFKS, 941 Kentucky, Lawrence, Kansas 66044
Location: 
KS
United States

Vote Hemp Press Release: Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2007 Introduced in Congress

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 13, 2007 CONTACT: Tom Murphy 207-542-4998 [email protected] Breaking News! Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2007 Introduced in Congress H.R. 1009 Would Give States Right to Regulate Farming of Versatile Hemp Crop WASHINGTON, DC - For the second time since the federal government outlawed hemp farming in the United States, a federal bill has been introduced that would remove restrictions on the cultivation of non-psychoactive industrial hemp. The chief sponsor of H.R. 1009, the "Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2007," is Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) and the nine original co-sponsors are Representatives Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Barney Frank (D-MA), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Jim McDermott (D-WA), George Miller (D-CA), Pete Stark (D-CA) and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA). The bill may be viewed online at: http://www.votehemp.com/federal.html "It is indefensible that the United States government prevents American farmers from growing this crop. The prohibition subsidizes farmers in countries from Canada to Romania by eliminating American competition and encourages jobs in industries such as food, auto parts and clothing that utilize industrial hemp to be located overseas instead of in the United States," said Dr. Paul. "By passing the Industrial Hemp Farming Act the House of Representatives can help American farmers and reduce the trade deficit - all without spending a single taxpayer dollar." 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 2 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 U.S., a vestige of centuries of hemp farming, the hemp for these products must be imported. Health Canada statistics show that 48,060 acres of industrial hemp were produced in Canada in 2006. Farmers in Canada have reported that hemp is one of the most profitable crops that they can grow. 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 industrial hemp as well. Fifteen states have passed pro-hemp legislation; seven (Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia) have removed barriers to its production or research. North Dakota has issued state licenses, the first in fifty years, to two farmers so far. Rep. Paul's bill would remove federal barriers and allow laws in these states regulating the growing and processing of industrial 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 Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp. "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 2007 will bring us back to more rational times when the government regulated marijuana, but told farmers they could go ahead and continue raising hemp just as they always had," says Mr. Steenstra.
Location: 
United States

Hemp: Ron Paul Introduces Industrial Hemp Bill in US Congress

Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul has filed a bill that would legalize hemp farming in the United States. This marks the second time Rep. Paul has filed this bill, but it went nowhere in the last Congress. The bill, HR 1009, would allow domestic hemp manufacturers to buy their hemp from American producers. Currently, US law bars the production of industrial hemp, and American manufacturers have to import their hemp from other countries.

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/ronpaul.jpg
Ron Paul
This time around, Rep. Paul has nine cosponsors, all Democrats. They are Representatives Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Barney Frank (D-MA), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Jim McDermott (D-WA), George Miller (D-CA), Pete Stark (D-CA) and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA).

"It is indefensible that the United States government prevents American farmers from growing this crop. The prohibition subsidizes farmers in countries from Canada to Romania by eliminating American competition and encourages jobs in industries such as food, auto parts and clothing that utilize industrial hemp to be located overseas instead of in the United States," said Rep. Paul. "By passing the Industrial Hemp Farming Act, the House of Representatives can help American farmers and reduce the trade deficit -- all without spending a single taxpayer dollar."

Hemp food manufacturers such as French Meadow Bakery, Hempzels, Living Harvest, Nature's Path and Nutiva now make their products from Canadian hemp. "Under the current national drug control policy, industrial hemp can be imported, but it can't be grown by American farmers," says Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp. "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 2007 will bring us back to more rational times when the government regulated marijuana, but told farmers they could go ahead and continue raising hemp just as they always had," said Steenstra.

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/hemp.jpg
hemp plants
The introduction of the hemp bill comes just days after North Dakota issued the first state licenses for farmers to grow hemp. But North Dakota hemp farmers must still win approval from the DEA, something that is unlikely to occur under the current law. North Dakota isn't alone. Some 14 other states have passed pro-hemp measures and seven have passed bills that remove barriers to its production or research.

Industrial Hemp Farming Act Introduced in Congress

Location: 
Washington, DC
United States
Publication/Source: 
Vote hemp
URL: 
http://www.votehemp.com/PR/02-13-07_federal_bill.html

Press Release: Vote Hemp Exposes ONDCP and DEA Lies about Hemp Farming

(press release from Vote Hemp)

Canadian Govt. Can Tell Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana, Why Can't the US?

WASHINGTON, DC -- On January 28, 2007 in the Minneapolis Star Tribune story "Industrial hemp producer? Plan raises feds' suspicions," Tom Riley of the White House Office on National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) was quoted as saying:

"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." Mr. Riley continued with "The last thing law enforcement people need is for the cultivation of marijuana-looking plants to spread. Are we going to ask them to go through row by row, field by field, to distinguish between legal hemp and marijuana?"

"The ONDCP is wrong in its characterization of industrial hemp advocates, and there is no evidence that farmers who grow industrial hemp are hiding marijuana plants in their fields, whether in Canada or anywhere else," says Vote Hemp President Eric Steenstra. "Because cross pollination of low THC industrial hemp and high THC marijuana is inevitable illicit marijuana growers avoid industrial hemp fields to protect the potency of their drug crop. It's simply illogical that a farmer's industrial hemp fields are ideal places to hide marijuana plants with all the extra scrutiny that comes with growing the crop. It's sad that, instead of a real policy debate on the issue of farming industrial hemp in the United States based on legislative intent and agronomic facts, the ONDCP and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) resort to false hyperbole and character assassination," says Steenstra. "Tom Riley is welcome to join me in Canada this summer for the Hemp Industries Association annual meeting and see for himself how our neighbors in the north can easily tell the difference between industrial hemp and marijuana crops."

Hemp farming in Canada is well regulated ensuring that only legitimate farmers are licensed and that they only grow government approved low-THC hemp. Requirements include applicant background checks, GPS coordinates of hemp fields, the use of approved low-THC seeds purchased from authorized seed vendors, and random inspections and testing. This licensing scheme ensures that farmers are only growing non-drug industrial hemp and not marijuana. Even though law enforcement is able to distinguish the difference between hemp and marijuana, the licensing process eliminates the need for them to visually distinguish between industrial hemp and its drug psychoactive cousin.

The lies about industrial hemp are prevalent in the public policy of the DEA as well. Steve Robertson, a DEA special agent in Washington, has also weighed in on the North Dakota debate with similar statements:

"The DEA does not have the authority to change existing federal law," Robertson said. "It's very simple for us: The law is there and we enforce the law," he said Wednesday. "We are law enforcement, not lawmakers."
-- "State's first hemp farming rules aimed at clearing federal hurdle," Grand Forks Herald, May 3, 2006

"It's interesting that Special Agent Robertson pretends that the DEA is purely a law enforcement entity, as they are not," says Tom Murphy, National Outreach Coordinator for Vote Hemp. "Like many Federal agencies, the DEA has been granted broad authority by Congress to interpret the statutes in the United States Code, such as the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). This includes re-scheduling substances and promulgating detailed rules and regulations. The DEA could easily negotiate industrial hemp farming rules with North Dakota under the Administrative Procedures Act, 5 USC 563. It is obvious that the current rules are not set up for farmers to grow an agricultural crop that has no potential for use as a drug" says Mr. Murphy. "Instead the DEA chooses to interfere in the legislative process by confusing legislators, reporters and the public with needless and misleading rhetoric."

Industrial hemp plants have long and strong stalks, have few branches, have been bred for maximum production of fiber and/or seed, and grow up to 16 feet in height. They are planted in high densities of 100 to 300 plants per square yard. On the other hand, drug varieties of Cannabis are shorter, are not allowed to go to seed, and have been bred to maximize branching and thus leaves and flowers. They are planted much less densely to promote bushiness. The drug and non-drug varieties are harvested at different times, and planting densities look very different from the air.

The last commercial hemp crops in the United States were grown in central Wisconsin in 1957, and these crops were purchased and processed by the Rens Hemp Company in Brandon, about 40 miles northwest of Milwaukee. The primary reason industrial hemp has not been grown in the US since then is because of its misclassification as a Schedule I drug in the CSA of 1970. The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 had provisions for farmers to grow non-psychoactive hemp by paying an annual occupational tax of $1.00. The exemption for hemp products was contained in the definition of marihuana in the Act:

"The term 'marihuana' means all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L. ... but shall not include the mature stalks of such plant, fiber produced from such stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of such plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefrom), fiber, oil, or cake, or the sterilized seed of such plant which is incapable of germination."

The language of the exemption was carried over almost verbatim to the definition of marihuana in the CSA [21 USC. §802(16)] which superseded the 1937 Tax Act, but since there was no active hemp industry at the time the provisions for hemp farming were not included in the new Act.

There is also an exemption for hemp farming in the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961 as amended by the 1972 Protocol Amending the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961. Article 28 states that:

"2. This Convention shall not apply to the cultivation of the cannabis plant exclusively for industrial purposes (fibre and seed) or horticultural purposes."

Laws allowing the farming of industrial hemp would not be in conflict with the Single Convention which the US is a signatory.

Seven states (Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia) have now changed their laws to give farmers an affirmative right to grow industrial hemp commercially or for research purposes. All require a license from the DEA to grow the crop. Only Hawaii has grown hemp in recent years, but its research program ended when the DEA refused to renew the license. California's AB1147 addressed the DEA's bad faith interference by providing that the federal government has no basis or right to interfere with hemp grown in California pursuant to AB1147.

Hemp: North Dakota Issues First Licenses to Grow Industrial Hemp, but DEA Roadblock Remains

North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson Monday signed the first two licenses issued by the state to grow industrial hemp. According to an Agriculture Department press release, the first license was issued to state Rep. David Monson (R-Osnabrock), the assistant majority leader who is also a farmer and strong proponent of industrial hemp. One other license has been issued, and 16 more applications have been submitted by would-be North Dakota hemp farmers.

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/hemplicense.jpg
first ND hemp license signing (agdepartment.com )
Hemp is the fibrous cousin to marijuana, containing only trace amounts of THC, the primary psychoactive ingredient in pot. Its fibers are used to make clothing and a variety of other goods, ranging from paper to auto-body panels, while its seeds and oils are used in a rapidly increasing number of food products. While hemp products may be sold and consumed in the United States, federal law prohibits growing it here, so American farmers are forced to stand by and watch as imported hemp products cross the border from Canada and come overseas from Europe, where it is legally grown.

"Rep. Monson has been the leader in developing the necessary legislation for North Dakota to legalize production of industrial hemp," Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson said Monday. "It is fitting that he has the first license." The second license was granted to Wayne Hauge of Ray. "These two North Dakota producers have met all the requirements, including FBI background checks," Johnson said. "They have invested considerable time, money and effort to meet the letter and spirit of the law."

But although North Dakota has moved to make hemp farming legal, it remains illegal under federal law. Johnson and North Dakota would-be hemp farmers will seek registration from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), but given the agency's hostile attitude toward hemp, that seems unlikely. Just last week, the DEA refused to waive the non-refundable annual $2,293 registration fee, despite Johnson's request that it do so.

While Johnson and the would-be hemp farmers may be going through the motions of seeking DEA approval to lay the basis for a later legal challenge, for now Johnson said he wants to try to reason with the agency.

"The rules require that a state license is not effective until the licensee receives a registration from DEA to import, produce or process industrial hemp," Johnson said. "I will meet with DEA officials about this matter in Washington early next week. I will ask for DEA's cooperation with our state program, and I will ask DEA to implement a reasonable process to allow North Dakota producers to grow industrial hemp."

Johnson said he wants to have a decision from DEA on whether the agency will register farmers to grow industrial hemp, and if registration is forthcoming, what additional restrictions will be placed on growers.

"The controls placed on licensed industrial hemp farmers by North Dakota's laws and regulations include criminal background checks, identification of fields by satellite tracking, minimum acreage requirements, seed certification and mandatory laboratory tests," Johnson said. "The chain of custody for viable hemp seed must be fully documented."

North Dakota issues first two hemp production licenses

Location: 
Bismarck, ND
United States
Publication/Source: 
KX News (ND)
URL: 
http://www.kxnet.com/getArticle.asp?s=rss&ArticleId=92837

They Only Have One Argument Against Hemp…And Its Wrong

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.

Location: 
United States

Industrial hemp producer? Plan riles feds' suspicions

Location: 
Osnabrock, ND
United States
Publication/Source: 
The Kansas City Star
URL: 
http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/nation/16587564.htm

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