8th Circuit Court rules industrial hemp is still marijuana

  • by Russ Belville, NORML Outreach Coordinator December 30, 2009

    (Courthouse News Service) – Two North Dakota farmers failed to convince the 8th Circuit that cannabis grown for industrial hemp is not technically marijuana and should not be regulated under federal law.

    The court in St. Louis upheld dismissal of the farmers’ lawsuit seeking a declaration that the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) does not apply to industrial-use cannabis.

    The appeals court pointed out that the Act defines marijuana to include all cannabis plants, regardless of the THC concentration.

    “The CSA likewise makes no distinction between cannabis grown for drug use and that grown for industrial use,” Judge Pasco Bowman wrote.

    The three-judge panel rejected the notion that industrial hemp is not marijuana under the Act, or that Congress has no authority to regulate their state-sanctioned cultivation of cannabis.

    Judge Bowman said Congress had a “rational basis” for regulating the cultivation of all cannabis plants in order to effectively regulate marijuana.

    The “rational basis” here is that North Dakota farmers can’t grow tall, reedy hemp plants that could never ever get anyone high, because that will confuse the law enforcement officials who are working to eradicate short bushy cannabis plants that are grown to get people high. Somehow, in Australia, Canada, and China to name a few countries, police who are tasked with eradicating illegal cannabis in those countries that have legal hemp have no difficulty whatsoever distinguishing the two crops, but American police are just baffled by basic agriculture.

    Silly as it sounds, that’s the court’s argument. We’d never be able to “effectively regulate marijuana” if farmers were growing hemp. Not that we’re actually “effectively regulating marijuana” now. Prohibition of marijuana is the absence of regulation — no regulations on who can buy it, who can sell it, where it can be sold, what age you must be to purchase it, where it can be used, what THC potency is allowed, whether the crop can be grown with certain pesticides and fertilizers, and what penalties should be leveled for failure to follow the regulations. Yes, there are laws against marijuana that makes all of those actions a crime, but by definition you can only regulate something that is legal.

    Prohibition doesn’t make those actions go away, it just makes them crimes. Therefore, those actions are occurring in an unregulated manner. So how is it, again, that growing an industrial hemp plant is preventing the government from regulating something that prohibition made unregulated?

    48 responses to “8th Circuit Court rules industrial hemp is still marijuana”

    1. Roberto says:

      That’s so sad. Had Ron Paul been elected, N. Dakota farmers would have harvested this fall.

    2. Charles Wolff says:

      So we just send the police to agriculte school. Can’t we just end this stupid war?

    3. Charles Wolff says:

      Maybe we should send the whole judicial system to agricultural school. That would be another reason to keep it illegal, we’d have to pay to support that too!

    4. law enforcement is the real enemy says:

      this is what happens in prisons around the country


    5. I hope the GREEN ECONOMY comes to Montana. There is a woman who obtained her state license to grow hemp and is prepared to plant this coming spring in Ennis, MT. 140 leased acres does not sound too bad. I hope to see her crop, if the DEA lets her!!!

    6. Herb says:

      The new GOLD RUSH!

    7. warren says:

      I`m terrified. These idiots are making the rules of this country. We need a slate cleaning. PLEASE vote these morons out.

    8. Freedom says:

      Thats what law enforcement/government does best..claim ignorance when the situation doesnt benfit them or puts them in a bad light.Ignorance is no longer and acceptable excuse. It worked when the public wasnt wise to their tactics, these days that wont hold water.

      I hear theres a possiblity of serious solar flares in the coming years. Serious enough to cause emp type disruptions in electronics effectively throwing the world back to the stone age. Maybe thats what it will take , a big smack to the side of the head of humanity . A way of nature saying, You petty squabbles mean nothing . Maybe then this world will pull its head out of it back side.

    9. Gilly says:

      All the farmers in America should be given a handfull of seeds. If laws aren’t following the public conscious, It’s everyones responsibility to defy those laws. It’s time to save democracy or or officially call it dead.

    10. Anonymous says:

      lest we forget that industrial hemp provides unwanted competition with paper and textile producers of other sorts. and of course american cops can’t tell the difference, most of them can’t find their own ass with a flashlight and a map!