American Farmers And Consumers Continue To Suffer Under Industrial Hemp Prohibition

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director December 26, 2009

    It can now be said that Uruguay is more progressive and possesses a greater sense of entrepreneurialism than the United States–at least regarding industrial hemp!


    After a decade-long political and legal battle with the federal government, the state of North Dakota and their farmers are still being denied the ability to cultivate–and prosper from- industrial hemp (i.e., cannabis that is under 1% THC in content and therefore is used for industrial purposes), unlike their brethren farmers in France, China, Great Britain, Canada and now…Uruguay.

    ND farmers lose appeal to grow hemp; US appeals court affirms dismissal of federal lawsuit

    The Associated Press

    December 22, 2009

    (AP) BISMARCK, N.D. – A federal appeals court on Tuesday affirmed a lower court’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit by two North Dakota farmers who said they should be allowed to grow industrial hemp without fear of federal criminal prosecution.

    Wayne Hauge and David Monson received North Dakota’s first state licenses to grow industrial hemp nearly three years ago, but they’ve never received approval from the Drug Enforcement Administration. The farmers sued the DEA, and their case has been before the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for more than a year after U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland dismissed it.

    Hemp, which is used to make paper, lotion and other products, is related to the illegal drug marijuana. Under federal law, parts of an industrial hemp plant are considered controlled substances.

    Hovland told the farmers the best remedy might be to ask Congress to change the law to explicitly distinguish hemp from marijuana.

    “I guess the next step is we’ll have to take it to Congress,” said Hauge, who grows garbanzo beans and other crops near the northwestern North Dakota town of Ray. “The fastest and easiest way to handle this would be for the president to order the Department of Justice to stand down on all actions against industrial hemp.”

    Dawn Dearden, a DEA spokeswoman in Washington, D.C., said the agency could not comment on the case.

    The farmers’ attorney, Tim Purdon of Bismarck, would not comment on the appeals court decision.

    David Monson, a Republican state legislator and farmer from Osnabrock in northeastern North Dakota, said Congress likely has no time to deal with the hemp issue.

    “With all the other things, hemp is not high on their priority list, and I can understand that,” Monson said.

    “Somehow, we need to get enough states involved so Congress can take action on it,” Monson said.

    North Dakota officials issued Monson and Hauge the nation’s first licenses to grow industrial hemp in 2007. But without permission from the DEA, the farmers could be arrested for growing the crop.

    Hemp contains trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, a banned substance, and it falls under federal anti-drug rules, the DEA says. Hemp proponents say it is safe because it contains only trace amounts of THC, and not enough to produce a high.

    Vote Hemp, the lobbying arm of the hemp industry, has helped fund the farmers’ legal battle. Spokesman Adam Eidinger said the group has spent about $60,000 to date. He said he was disappointed with Tuesday’s ruling.

    “The 8th Circuit is kind of conservative, so I can’t say I’m totally surprised,” he said.

    Eidinger said only a handful of states have passed pro-hemp farming laws. He said North Dakota is the first state to craft rules to license industrial hemp farmers.

    Monson had planned to seed 10 acres of hemp on his farm the northeastern part of the state. He said hemp is grown 25 miles north of his farm in Canada, where production has been legal since 1998, after 60 years of prohibition.

    Hauge said he hopes someday to seed 100 acres of hemp on his farm.

    “My great-grand dad homesteaded here more than 100 years ago, with a sod house on the wide-open prairie,” Hauge said. “If he could do that, I can stand a small amount of adversity to grow industrial hemp.”

    Then there is ‘progressive’ South America…

    First in South America: Uruguay to Test Cultivation of Industrial Hemp

    by Paula Alvarado, Buenos Aires on 12.22.09

    Tree Huggers

    Great news for TreeHuggers in South America: Uruguay could become the first country in the region to authorize the cultivation of industrial hemp, according to El Pais newspaper. The national Ministry of Cattle, Agriculture and Fishing has authorized an experimental cultivation of hemp to take place in october 2010. If the results are successful, the country could grant permits to producers to start growing.

    The pilot cultivation will be carried away by the National Institute for Farming Technology and its place will remain secret. The goal is to get to know the productive capacities of the country and how the plants varieties respond to Uruguayan soil.

    If the cultivation moves forward, however, producers will only be able to grow hemp with special permits so that the Ministry of Agriculture can control the production.

    One of the companies behind the project is The Latin American Hemp Trading, which is fighting to make Uruguay the first country in the region to enter the industry of hemp since 2006.

    Hemp and the South American soy frenzy

    You probably know that hemp is a great crop: fast growing, needs few to no herbicides, and is incredible versatile, among other interesting characteristics. Problem is, its production is still banned in many countries for its association with the psychoactive variety used as drug (the industrial hemp has less than 0.3% THC, while marijuana contains anywhere from 6 or 7% to 20% or even more).

    So far countries in South America make no distinction between industrial and psychoactive hemp, and neither does Uruguay. But that could begin to change if the results from this project are positive.

    Apart from the amazing materials that can be produced with hemp, it would be interesting to know how the region reacts if Uruguay is successful growing hemp. Right now Argentina and Uruguay are major transgenic-soy producers, with heavy use of harmful herbicides and fertilizers. If the hemp industry takes off  and proves lucrative, could it provide some balance to soy production? Hopefully


    La otra cannabis en Uruguay
    Emprendimiento. Autorizan plan piloto para desarrollar la agroindustria del cáñamo

    Original reporting from El Pais.

    41 responses to “American Farmers And Consumers Continue To Suffer Under Industrial Hemp Prohibition”

    1. DB says:

      Congress was obviously able to make the time to ban hemp. They can certainly make the time to unban it!

    2. Stephen says:

      Thats so awful the folks in North Dakota were denied it’s use. I’m sure they were telling the judge how it has no thc content. Here’s to America! Land of the free…

    3. Billy says:

      “What a Shame” When I was young, 66-68, we took a road trip to the Dallas Pop festival. Along the way. we went thru Kansas, we noticed fields of “What”, yes hemp. Of course we stopped and proceeded to stuff pillow cases with the stuff….although it was a poor quality it still did the trick…….it was grown by a Parrot food conpany, they’d strip off the seeds and burn the rest of it, what a shame, as it could have been used in many other ways, of course. I bet now the fields are gone, It’s sad to me that a crop, with so many uses other than just a means to get high, has been villified by our government. At a time when we could use the vast income Hemp could provide the US economy, we sit on our hands and let a few brainwashed politicians let us wallow in the mire of poverty and recession. Just because no one is able to step forward and get above the idiototic “Refer Madness” that has stained and outlawed a tremondous cash crop just sitting there waiting to be re-legalized. I guess I’m not saying anything not said over and over again and it’s probably just a waste of time, since the powers to be, will have it there way no matter what the situation of our economy is. We’ve been at this since I was a child and inch by inch we get closer, but it sure seems if it was gonna happen it would happen now, when we need it most! I’ll never give up, but it sure is hard not to be able to do more than what I’m doing right now to get this issue resolved….. ……..”What a Shame”

    4. Don says:

      That sign in the above picture will eventually be ignored and some Idiot will steal some anyway, Thus making them Sick and giving them the Headache from HELL that they will rightly deserve.
      I remember a Post about a year or so ago, from a Canadian Farmer that observed some people stealing a few plants from his field, He was laughing at them Thinking that they were making a big mistake that they were very unlikely to EVER make again, Especially when they find out it is worthless as a Drug.

    5. claygooding says:

      The problems solved by hemp will reduce the already rich owners of pulpwood paper mills,so expect more fighting before America is allowed to use this wonderful plant.
      The legalization of marijuana will legalize hemp aldo,and that is why the belong to the violence supporting,marijuana access to our children and the imprisonment of non-violent victimless criminals anti-pot cartels.
      The only downside is that if hemp is grown anywhere near your home,it knocks sinsimilla growing outside in the head. The pollination of your stash plants by industrial hemp plants shouldn’t reduce their potency
      anymore than the pollination of ypor stash by it’s own strain would,I’d think but the seeds produced might not produce marijuana as good as the mother plant. So that means you would have to purchase seeds from someone growing and producing seeds inside a controlled
      environment that filters out the industrial hemp pollen.
      I have smoked seeded pot all my 42 years of smoking,so just because plants have seeds doesn’t stop the high and there are arguments as to how much thc the plants use for seed production. I have also smoked some very good sinsemilla but to say how much loss of high would have been lost if seeds had been present in it is impossible for me. Maybe some large scale growers that have raised the same strain with and without seeds could shed some light on that.
      If your lucky enough to live in a part of the country where industrial hemp isn’t a profitable crop,you may be able to provide the country with pure strain seeds,or the local hydro growers can seed out a crop in their growing rooms.

    6. Ash says:

      It is absurd that farmers need permission from the DEA to grow something that is not a drug. Ignorance like this from the people in charge is the reason our country is in such bad shape now.

    7. James Crosby says:

      I love hemp with all my heart. We should use it all we can, forever. In turn, it benefits as well as everything else. It’s a wonderful cycle of love.

    8. Troy says:

      LEGALIZE HEMP! Imagine a world where we have to never chop down a tree for paper. trees take decades to grow back. hemp takes what? 3 months? If this country is serious about saving the planet from global warming then maybe we should open our eyes to this hemp issue. Legalizing hemp is not only a social and political issue, but an environmental issue as well. for the better.

    9. Adam says:

      This is crazy, what the hell is our government doing. We need a revolution. Keep your 2nd amendment and start stocking up on guns.

    10. Derek TN says:

      This just goes to show the pure ignorance of our lawmakers on the issue if they cant readily distinguish the difference between hemp and marijuana.