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Hemp On the Menu in Bismarck, North Dakota

Bismarck's Bistro restaurant is known for its fine, grass-fed North Dakota beef and fine wines, but the menu last night included a tasty garden salad with hemp oil dressing. Hemp isn't usually on the menu--at least so far--but the folks at the Bistro added it in honor of the plaintiffs in a case that is being heard at the federal courthouse here this morning. In a little less than an hour, North Dakota farmers Wayne Hauge and Roger Munson, who is also a state senator, and their attorneys, will be in federal court to argue motions in their case against the DEA for refusing to act on their applications to grow hemp. The farmers have the support of the state government, which, in the face of DEA intransigence, has acted to get the DEA out of the way, as well as the hemp industry, some of whose representatives were at the dinner table at the Bistro last night. The attorneys told me last night the most likely outcome of today's hearings is that the judge will not rule immediately, but take the motions under consideration with a ruling to come shortly. The government will ask for a dismissal, but the hemp attorneys think that's unlikely. The hearing will last until about noon, then there will be a post-hearing press availability, which I will attend before heading back to central South Dakota. Yesterday, on the way up here, my gas mileage sucked as I fought bitter winds out of the northwest. Local TV news reported gusts of 74 mph yesterday. The wind is still blowing, but at least this afternoon it'll be at my back as I scoot across the lonely prairies. Look for a feature article on the hemp hearing on Friday.
Bismarck, ND
United States

Marijuana: Three of Four Reform Initiatives Pass in Hailey, Idaho

Voters in small-town Hailey, Idaho, Tuesday approved three out four marijuana initiatives placed on the ballot over the objections of town officials. Initiatives to legalize the medical use of marijuana, make marijuana the lowest law enforcement priority, and legalize industrial hemp all passed. A fourth measure, which would have mandated the city to tax and regulate marijuana sales, failed.

Some 1,288 eligible voters went to the polls in Hailey, with medical marijuana gaining the most votes (687), followed by hemp (683) and lowest priority (637). Taxation and regulation lost by a margin of 573-674.

The initiatives were the brainchild of Ryan Davidson, chairman of the Idaho Liberty Lobby, who three years ago began efforts to put marijuana on the ballot in the Wood River Valley towns of Hailey, Sun Valley, and Ketchum. Local authorities in all three communities denied his petitions, and a series of court battles ensued, out of which Davidson emerged victorious. Davidson is working on initiatives for Sun Valley and Ketchum.

The initiatives require the city of Hailey to create a Community Oversight Committee to oversee implementation. They also require the city of Hailey to lobby other branches of government for reform of the marijuana laws.

State and local officials are likely not happy. The Idaho Attorney General's Office issued a statement last week reminding voters that marijuana possession is a crime under both state and federal law, and Hailey City Attorney Ned Williamson predicted before the vote that the city could be the subject of expensive litigation at taxpayer expense if voters approved the measures.

But now the voters have spoken, and it is up to city officials to heed their will.

Press Release: North Dakota Farmers in Court Nov. 14 for Oral Arguments in Hemp Lawsuit

[Courtesy of Vote Hemp] NEWS ADVISORY: November 7, 2007 CONTACT: Adam Eidinger, T: 202-744-2671, E: [email protected] or Tom Murphy T: 207-542-4998, E: [email protected] North Dakota Farmers in Court Nov. 14 for Oral Arguments in Hemp Lawsuit BISMARCK, ND – Two North Dakota farmers, who filed a lawsuit in June to end the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) ban on commercial hemp farming in the United States, will have their day in court on Wednesday, November 14, 2007 in Bismarck, North Dakota. Oral arguments begin at 10:00 am CST in the William L. Guy Federal Building, 220 E Rosser Ave Bismarck, ND and will immediately be followed by a press conference on the courthouse steps. The farmers – State Rep. David Monson of Osnabrock and Wayne Hauge of Ray – will appear in court to observe oral arguments made on their behalf by attorneys Tim Purdon and Joe Sandler. If successful, the landmark lawsuit will lead to the first state–regulated cultivation of commercial industrial hemp farming in fifty years. WHO: Rep. David Monson, North Dakota House assistant majority leader, farmer Wayne Hauge, licensed hemp farmer Tim Purdon, Vogel Law Firm, Bismarck, attorney for the plaintiffs Joe Sandler, co-counsel for plaintiffs and legal counsel for Eric Steenstra, president, WHAT: Oral Arguments Media Availability and Teleconference on New Lawsuit to Grow Hemp WHERE: William Guy Federal Building, 220 E. Rosser Ave., Bismarck, ND 58501 WHEN: Monday, November 14, 10:00 am CDT, Oral Arguments, Media Availability Afterwards The North Dakota Legislature recently removed the requirement that state-licensed industrial hemp farmers first obtain DEA permits before growing hemp. The question before the U.S. district court will be whether or not federal authorities can prosecute state-licensed farmers who grow non-drug oilseed and fiber hemp pursuant to North Dakota state law. Vote Hemp, the nation's leading industrial hemp advocacy group, and it’s supporters are providing financial support for the lawsuit. If successful, states across the nation will be free to implement hemp farming laws without fear of federal interference. More on the case can be found at
Bismarck, ND
United States

NDSU Files Amicus in Support of Hemp Farming Lawsuit, DEA Makes Feeble Argument that Hemp Can be Turned into Drugs

For Immediate Release: October 29, 2007 Contact: Adam Eidinger T: 202-744-2671, E: [email protected] or Tom Murphy T: 207-542-4998, E:[email protected] NDSU Files Amicus in Support of Hemp Farming Lawsuit DEA Makes Feeble Argument that Hemp Can be Turned into Drugs BISMARCK, ND – North Dakota State University (NDSU), a publicly funded land grant university has taken the unprecedented step of submitting an amicus brief in support of two North Dakota farmers, Rep. Dave Monson and Wayne Hague, who filed a lawsuit in June to end the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) ban on state-regulated commercial hemp farming in the United States. In the amicus, NDSU states that since 1999 they have waited for DEA to grant their application to grow non-drug industrial hemp to create varieties best suited for the North Dakota climate and soil conditions. NDSU contends these farmers should be granted relief from the court, as it is pointless to wait for DEA’s decision on licensing because the school’s interaction with the DEA shows the federal agency has no intention of cooperating with a premier agricultural university let alone private farmers. The amicus can be read online at Due to DEA’s obstructionism, the North Dakota Legislature removed earlier this year the requirement that state-licensed industrial hemp farmers first obtain DEA permits before growing hemp, enabling the plaintiff farmers to bring their case. In a Reply to the DEA’s Opposition to the farmers’ Motion for Summary Judgment filed Friday, lawyers for Monson and Hauge argue that not only do the farmers have standing as they are licensed by the state to grow industrial hemp and do not have to risk arrest before growing the crop, but that DEA is ignoring that the Controlled Substance Act (CSA) exempts non-drug hemp seed, oil and fiber from control. DEA is improperly extending its authority under the CSA into purely intra-state regulated industrial hemp farming that places only exempt non-drug hemp fiber and seed commodities into commerce, that not only did Congress not intend to regulate, but cannot regulate via the CSA under the Commerce Clause. With support of the landmark litigation coming from all branches of the North Dakota government as well as the Attorney General’s office who represents NDSU, the DEA has resorted to raising outlandish claims that somehow non-drug industrial hemp can be used as a drug even though impossible by definition, and in Canada and European countries where hemp is grown for export to the US, there is no such activity taking place. Gold can hypothetically and has in some instances been extracted from seawater, but the minimal concentration makes it technically and economically inefficient and commercially non-viable to do so. There are trace opiates in poppy seeds consumed on bagels, that could also be hypothetically be concentrated; but just as with industrial hemp is not a practical source of drugs for the illicit market. “The DEA is making a feeble defense, and is basically saying the farmers in North Dakota could divert their non-drug industrial hemp crops to make drugs, even though that is economically impossible and no one does that anywhere in the world. The media should be very skeptical of any ‘facts’ the DEA purports as DEA has realized the strength of the farmers’ case and is furiously backpedaling, asking for discovery on facts it previously held to be undisputed in a desperate bid to sow confusion,” says David Bronner, President of the Hemp Industries Association whose company, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps imports hemp oil from Canada for their soaps. Monson v. DEA will be argued in court on Wednesday, November 14, 2007 in Bismarck, North Dakota. Oral arguments begin at 10:00 am CDT in the William L. Guy Federal Building, 220 E Rosser Ave Bismarck, ND and will immediately be followed by a press conference on the courthouse steps.
Bismarck, ND
United States

Someone Tell the Drug Czar That Hemp Isn't a Drug

The brave drug warriors at ONDCP need so much help. They are just as confused as can be about so many things, but they wear industrial strength earplugs and never go on the internet except to periodically blog about how confused they are. It would be funny if they weren't destroying America.

So anyone who still thinks these people are serious should visit the Drug Czar's blog right away and read his recent post, "Terminated! Gov. Schwarzenegger Vetoes Pro-Drug Hemp Bill." It is downright delusional; a perfect encapsulation of the thinly-veiled psychosis that festers beneath the skin of the powerful Drug War Experts in Washington D.C.
While drug legalization groups extol hemp as some kind of miracle-plant, many Americans aren’t getting the full story. Industrial hemp and marijuana are not just "related" – they come from the same cannabis sativa plant.

The real agenda of hemp enthusiasts is to legalize smoked marijuana and it is no coincidence that legalizing hemp would complicate efforts to curb the production and use of smoked marijuana by young people.
Now, I could explain that hemp actually is a useful plant. I could propose that a hemp bill can't be "pro-drug" because hemp isn't a drug. I could point out that the farmers who want to grow it don't care about marijuana legalization. I could argue that Americans already know it's a type of marijuana. And I could even prove that you can't grow commercial marijuana anywhere near it due to cross-pollination.

But that would be pointless, because the Drug Czar doesn't care about these things. All he cares about is that marijuana legalization advocates sometimes participate in criticizing U.S. hemp policy, and if those people want hemp, he will burn to the ground every damned stalk until they pry the flamethrower from his shriveled dead hands.

In fact, as a marijuana legalization advocate, I should maybe shut up about this, lest I fuel the Drug Czar's deranged fantasy that people who want to make pants and granola bars are actually part of a diabolical conspiracy to turn California into the world's biggest rehab clinic.
United States

ENCOD's Letter to Bill Clinton

On Wednesday, Bill Clinton visited the city of Rotterdam (the Netherlands) to hold a speech for CEO's, NGOs and authorities concerning the topic of global warming and the need for innovative solutions. On this occasion, ENCOD (European Coalition for Just and Effective Drug Policies) and the Rotterdam based company HEMPFLAX (specialised in the manufacturing of hemp products) personally handed over a public letter to Clinton We also tried to give him a bottle of hemp oil, but the security would not let us. Read the letter at Rotterdam is the first city in the Netherlands where the policy of the new Dutch government will be put in practice to close coffeeshops that are situated less than 250 meters of schools. On October 1st, the city announced a plan to close 18 of the 62 existing coffeeshops by June 2009. All of the shops involved are considering legal steps to counter this decision, which is seen as the first concrete move to end tolerant policy concerning cannabis in the Netherlands. Best wishes, Joep Oomen

Marijuana: Four Initiatives Make November Ballot In Idaho Town

A central Idaho marijuana legalization advocate's three-year struggle to get marijuana initiatives on the ballot in the town of Hailey will come to fruition in November. City officials announced last Friday that a package of marijuana initiatives proposed by Ryan Davidson will be on the November 6 ballot.
Selkirk mountains, northern Idaho
Davidson sought in 2004 to file initiative petitions seeking the legalization of marijuana with the communities of Sun Valley, Hailey, and Ketchum, but local officials in all three locales balked. Sun Valley officials refused to process the initiatives, claiming they were unconstitutional. Davidson and his group, the Liberty Lobby of Idaho, took the municipality all the way to the Idaho Supreme Court, which issued a decision in Davidson's favor last year.

Davidson won a second court victory last month, when a US District Court issued a preliminary injunction barring the city of Hailey from requiring that initiative initiators be residents of the city.

Now, Davidson has four different marijuana initiatives on the November ballot. The first would mandate the city to revise its ordinances to regulate and tax marijuana sales and require it to advocate for the reform of marijuana laws at the state and national level. If approved by voters, city officials would have up to a year to implement the new ordinance. A second initiative would legalize the medical use of marijuana. The third initiative would make enforcement of marijuana laws the lowest law enforcement priority, while the fourth initiative would allow for the use of industrial hemp.

Local officials are resigned to letting the voters decide. "The only way this is going to go away is to let the people vote on it," said Hailey City Council President Rick Davis at a Monday council meeting.

"The voters have to vote on this; the Supreme Court was very clear," said Hailey city attorney Ned Williamson.

Voters in Hailey will get their chance in November. But Ketchum and Sun Valley could be next. Davidson told the Idaho Mountain Express he hoped to have initiatives on the ballot in those two cities for next May's local elections.

Press Release: Strong Growth of Hemp Food and Body Care Sales Continues in 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, September 25, 2007 CONTACT: Tom Murphy: T: 207-542-4998, E: [email protected] or Adam Eidinger, T: 202-744-2671, E: [email protected] Strong Growth of Hemp Food and Body Care Sales Continues in 2007 U.S. Farmers Suing DEA to Grow Industrial Hemp for Expanding Market Baltimore, MD – As leading North American brands that make hemp food and body care products with hemp seed and oil exhibit at the Natural Products Expo in Baltimore from September 27-29, new retail data released today proves that these brands are racking up record sales. The strong sales have occurred against the backdrop of state-licensed hemp farmers in North Dakota fighting a high stakes legal battle against the DEA to grow hemp seed for U.S. manufacturers. The new sales data lends credibility to U.S. farmers’ assertion that they are being left out of the lucrative hemp market that Canadian farmers have cashed in on for ten years. The sales data, collected by the market research firm SPINS, was obtained from natural food retailers only, excluding Whole Foods Market and mass-market food and pharmacy stores, and thus under-represents actual sales by a factor of two to three. The new report shows that hemp food sales grew in the sampled stores by 39% over the previous year (from August 2006 to August 2007), or by $2.1 million, to a total of $7.7 million. Based on the representative growth of this sample, the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) Food and Oil Committee now estimates that the total retail value of hemp foods sold over the past 12 months in North America grew from $14 million last year to approximately $20 million this year. In addition, the SPINS data show that sales of hemp body care products grew 11% over the past 12 months in the sampled stores to $12 million. Due to the large hemp body care line sold by The Body Shop, as well as the fact that many unreported leading mass-market brands of sun tan lotion and sunscreen products include hemp oil, the HIA estimates the total retail value of North American hemp body care sales to be at least $50 million. “The hard work we did four years ago to preserve legal sales of hemp foods through successful litigation has paid off with steady double-digit growth year after year,” says David Bronner, Chair of the HIA Food and Oil Committee and President of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. “The HIA is confident that the total North American hemp food and body care market over the last 12 months accounted for at least $65-70 million in retail sales,” adds Bronner. Over the last three years, hemp food sales have averaged 41% annual growth, making it one of the fastest-growing natural food categories. "Last fall we expected the double-digit growth of the hemp food sector to continue in 2007, especially since hemp milk would finally be available to waiting consumers," comments Eric Steenstra, HIA Executive Director. "We project that growth in the markets for hemp food and body care will keep pace into 2008,” says Steenstra. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Statistics Canada data show that the quantity of hemp seed exports increased 300% from 2006 to 2007. Hemp oil exports kept pace, with an 85% increase in quantity. Hemp fiber exports showed encouraging progress, with a 65% increase in quantity. All statistics represent growth from the period January to June in 2007 versus the same period in 2006. A summary of hemp food and body care sales data is available by visiting . # # # The mission of the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) is to represent the interests of the hemp industry and to encourage the research and development of new hemp products. More information about hemp’s many uses and hemp legislation may be found at 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.
Baltimore, MD
United States

Press Release: North Dakota Farmers File Motion for Summary Judgment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, September 20, 2007 CONTACT: Adam Eidinger, T: 202-744-2671, E: [email protected] or Tom Murphy, T: 207-542-4998, E: [email protected] North Dakota Farmers File Motion for Summary Judgment in Hemp Farming Case Motion Includes Response to DEA’s Motion to Dismiss BISMARCK, ND – Two North Dakota farmers, State Rep. David Monson from Osnabrock and Wayne Hauge from Ray, have filed a Motion for Summary Judgment in a lawsuit filed June 18 in U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota that seeks to end the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) obstruction of state-licensed and state-regulated commercial hemp farming in the United States. The farmers are seeking a declaration that they cannot be criminally prosecuted for growing hemp under state regulations, now in effect in North Dakota, which ensure cultivated plants have no potential drug value and are grown solely for the production of legal hemp fiber and seed commodities. The Motion and other legal documents can be viewed at “The DEA cannot purport to extend Congressional authority under the Commerce Clause via the Controlled Substances Act in order to interfere with North Dakota’s industrial hemp program, in which only federally-exempted, entirely legal hemp fiber and seed commodities are placed into interstate commerce,” says Tim Purdon, an attorney working on the case. “North Dakota regulations enforce conservatively strict non-psychoactive THC limits similar to Canadian regulations, which ensure there is no drug value in any part of the plant that could be diverted into the interstate market for recreational marijuana.” The farmers were issued their state licenses to grow industrial hemp from North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson in February 2007. Pursuant to North Dakota law at that time, the farmers also applied for a DEA license to grow industrial hemp. Over the next few months, however, the DEA’s delay and expressed intent to review the applications as if the farmers intended to grow an unprecedented amount of Schedule I drugs, versus cultivate a non-drug agricultural crop, fueled frustration in North Dakota’s legislature. In April, the legislature changed their law, removing the requirement for a DEA license and asserting that the state license itself was fully sufficient. An Affidavit accompanying the Motion from Professor Burton Johnson of North Dakota State University (NDSU) included a formal letter from NDSU to the DEA this summer. In the letter, NDSU relays that the public university was directed in 1998 by North Dakota state law to collect and cultivate feral, local wild hemp in order to begin breeding industrial hemp varieties that could best thrive in North Dakota’s climate and meet the requirement of 3/10 of one percent THC or less in flowering tops. NDSU filed for a license from the DEA in 1999, but to date the agency has failed to act on the application. See the letter online at “The national movement supporting farmers’ right to grow hemp learned from the NDSU example that the DEA has no intention of being rational about facilitating non-drug industrial hemp research and cultivation, even when it’s by a major university,” says Vote Hemp President Eric Steenstra. Vote Hemp’s grassroots supporters are funding this legal action to overcome the irrational hysteria and bureaucratic inertia of the DEA, and to restore industrial hemp farming to American farmers. Vote Hemp is dedicating this effort to recently-deceased Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop, and Michael Sutherland, former board member of the Hemp Industries Association (HIA). Both were trail-blazing pioneers in the modern restoration and renaissance of the global hemp industry. # # # Vote Hemp is a national 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 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.
Bismarck, ND
United States

Press Release: California Legislature Passes Industrial Hemp Bill for Second Time in Two Years

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 12, 2007 CONTACT: Patrick Goggin at (415) 312-0084 or Adam Eidinger at (202) 744-2671, [email protected] California Legislature Passes Industrial Hemp Bill for Second Time in Two Years AB 684 Would Allow Farmers to Grow Non-Drug Varieties of Cannabis New Compromise Legislation is Ripe for Governor’s Support SACRAMENTO, CA – Last night, California’s Senate and Assembly each voted to approve AB 684, the California Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2007. The legislation gives some California farmers the right to grow non-psychoactive industrial hemp, which is commonly used in everything from food, clothing, paper, and body care to bio-fuel and even auto parts. The bill now goes to Governor Schwarzenegger for his signature. The text of the legislation can be found at: . AB 684, the California Industrial Hemp Farming Act, was authored by Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and Assemblyman Chuck DeVore (R-Irvine). Thanks to their leadership, this is the second time in two years that a bipartisan hemp farming bill has passed the legislature. Last year, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed AB 1147. The new version of the bill responds to his concerns. “The new legislation significantly limits the scope of hemp farming to just four agricultural counties, includes a sunset provision, and contains rules on testing crops to ensure the industrial hemp contains less than 3/10 of 1% THC,” says Vote Hemp legal counsel and San Francisco attorney Patrick Goggin. “This bill is a response to the Governor’s detailed explanation of his veto last year. Everyone knows hemp farming is consistent with California’s effort to be leader on US environmental policy. We believe this new hemp legislation is deserving of the Governor’s signature,” adds Goggin. Farmers would only be able to grow industrial hemp as a pilot program in Imperial, Kings, Mendocino, and Yolo counties. Hemp is a versatile plant that is taking off as an organic food and body care ingredient. Imports from Canada of hemp foods grew 300% between 2006 and 2007. Today more than 30 industrialized nations grow industrial hemp and export it to the US. Hemp is the only crop that is both illegal to grow and legal for Americans to import. There is strong support for hemp in California. A telephone poll of likely California voters, taken from February 22 – 26, showed a total of 71% (+/- 3.5%) supporting changes to state law allowing farmers to grow hemp. The survey was conducted by the respected research firm Zogby International on behalf of Vote Hemp and five manufacturers of hemp food products, including Alpsnack®, French Meadow Bakery®, Living Harvest®, Nature’s Path Organic Foods® and Nutiva®. Poll questions and results regarding industrial hemp farming policy and consumer attitudes on hemp products and nutrition can be viewed online at: # # More information about hemp legislation and the crop’s many uses can be found at
Sacramento, CA
United States

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