Farmers Ask Federal Court To Dissociate Hemp & Pot

Farmers Ask Federal Court To Dissociate Hemp & Pot
Posted by CN Staff on November 12, 2007 at 05:17:11 PT
By Peter Slevin, Washington Post Staff Writer
Source: Washington Post 
Washington, DC -- Wayne Hauge grows grains, chickpeas and some lentils on 2,000 acres in northern North Dakota. Business is up and down, as the farming trade tends to be, and he is always on the lookout for a new crop. He tried sunflowers and safflowers and black beans. Now he has set his sights on hemp.Hemp, a strait-laced cousin of marijuana, is an ingredient in products from fabric and food to carpet backing and car door panels. Farmers in 30 countries grow it. But it is illegal to cultivate the plant in the United States without federal approval, to the frustration of Hauge and many boosters of North Dakota agriculture.
On Wednesday, Hauge and David C. Monson, a fellow aspiring hemp farmer, will ask a federal judge in Bismarck to force the Drug Enforcement Administration to yield to a state law that would license them to become hemp growers."I'm looking forward to the court battle," said Hauge, a 49-year-old father of three. "I don't know why the DEA is so afraid of this."The law is the law and it treats all varieties of Cannabis sativa L. the same, Bush administration lawyers argue in asking U.S. District Judge Daniel L. Hovland to throw out the case. The DEA says a review of the farmers' applications is underway.To clear up the popular confusion about the properties of what is sometimes called industrial hemp, the crop's prospective purveyors explain that hemp and smokable marijuana share a genus and a species but are about as similar as rope and dope.The active ingredient in marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC. While hemp typically contains 0.3 percent THC, the leaves and flowers coveted by pot smokers have 5 percent or more, sometimes up to 30 percent."You could smoke a joint the size of a telephone pole," Hague said of hemp, "and it's not going to provide you with a high."Experts on the subject say a headache is far more likely than a buzz.In the small town of Ray, N.D., Hauge said people -- his friends, mostly -- make cracks."Usually it's something about whether or not the DEA is going to arrest me or if my phone is being tapped," Hauge said. "It's kind of difficult to provoke me. I'm also a CPA, and I have had a tax practice in Ray for 25 years. I was an EMT for 18 years. And I'm not a person who smokes. I don't smoke anything. I exercise a lot and I'm pretty healthy."David Bronner is a vegan California businessman who uses hemp oil to make his Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap richer and smoother. He touts hemp milk as a challenger to soy and adds hemp seeds, full of Omega-3 fatty acids, to a snack bar called Alpsnack.He says the hulled seeds look like sesame seeds and taste like pine nuts.Bronner's company spends about $100,000 a year importing 10,000 pounds of hemp oil and 10,000 pounds of seeds from Canada. To do so, he first had to win a federal court battle with the Justice Department, which tried to ban the imports. One of his arguments was the prevalence and popularity of the crop elsewhere."In Canada and Europe, where industrial hemp is grown, no one is trying to smoke it and the sky is not falling," said Bronner, president of the Hemp Industries Association, a trade group. Likening hemp seeds to marijuana, he said, is like equating poppy seeds with opium.Hauge is joined by Monson, a Republican state legislator who helped pass a law in 1999 that would permit hemp cultivation and establish limits to ease the federal government's worries. They have the backing of Vote Hemp, an advocacy organization, and state Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson, who personally delivered paperwork to the DEA in February on the farmers' behalf.In a lengthy March 5 letter to DEA Administrator Karen P. Tandy, Johnson quoted a university professor's conclusion that under "the most fundamental principles of pharmacology, it can be shown that it is absurd, in practical terms, to consider industrial hemp useful as a drug."That's how Tim Purdon sees it. He is a Bismarck lawyer for Hauck and Monson."Some people call me up with the idea that my clients and myself are some sort of marijuana legalization effort," Purdon said. "My clients are farmers. They are looking for a crop they can make money on in the tough business of being a family farmer."Hauge is feeling optimistic. He has signed up for a hemp cultivation seminar in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. It starts Friday.Source: Washington Post (DC)Author:  Peter Slevin, Washington Post Staff WriterPublished: Monday, November 12, 2007; Page A03 Copyright: 2007 Washington Post Contact: letterstoed washpost.comWebsite: Related Articles & Web Site:Vote Hemp Crop Fungus Has North Dakota Longing for Hemp Late To Plant Hemp, Farmers File Suit Farmers Suing DEA Over Right To Grow Hemp
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on November 16, 2007 at 10:29:03 PT
Ruling Pending on Hemp Status
By Janell Cole, The Forum, DL-OnlinePublished: Friday, November 16, 2007
A federal judge considering a case that could legalize industrial hemp crops in North Dakota said he’ll make a decision by the end of the month.U.S. District Judge Dan Hovland challenged several arguments offered by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency during Wednesday’s court hearing, including its lawyer’s contention that Hovland shouldn’t even hear the case.“This court certainly does have jurisdiction,” Hovland told DEA’s attorney, Wendy Ertmer.But Hovland also told the North Dakota farmers who want to grow hemp that they might find legislation in Congress a better route.The hearing was on DEA’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit that two North Dakota farmers filed against the DEA in June. David Monson of Osnabrock and Wayne Hauge of Ray want a federal judge to declare that they can’t be prosecuted for growing industrial hemp because they are following state laws to legally grow it.The latest state law to be passed says North Dakota farmers do not need DEA’s permission to grow hemp.Hemp is a cousin to marijuana that doesn’t contain the intoxicant THC, which marijuana does. Its stalks are used for fiber, and the seeds are pressed for oil or shelled to make a nutty-tasting confectionary.The government has argued for years that there is no difference between hemp and marijuana because both are cannabis and can’t legally be grown under the federal Controlled Substance Act.Monson, who is also the assistant majority leader in the state House, has been sponsoring bills to legalize hemp as a crop for several years. One law ordered North Dakota State University to research the best way to grow hemp in North Dakota. NDSU has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in alliance with the farmers.NDSU’s brief notes that, as mandated by state law, it applied for a DEA license to grow marijuana for crop science purposes in 1999. But eight years later, the DEA has not made a decision on the application.Hovland grilled Ertmer about it.“That application has been pending eight years. Is eight years a reasonable time for an application to remain pending?” he asked. Instead of delaying, which is a de facto denial, “why doesn’t the DEA just deny the application?”Ertmer objected, saying, “The details of NDSU’s application are simply irrelevant.”She said a previous 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals hemp case, United States v. White Plume, is enough to dismiss the suit.Tim Purdon, one of the farmers’ attorneys, said after the hearing that the cases are not the same.The farmers’ other lawyer, Joe Sandler, argued that the federal government allows the use and shipment of products made from hemp plants and said the only way the hemp plants would leave the farmers’ property is when they have been processed into those same legal materials.Hovland asked both sides about a bill currently under consideration in the U.S. House, the Industrial Hemp Act of 2007. Ertmer didn’t know if the Justice Department has taken a position on it.The judge asked Sandler, “Isn’t the best remedy to amend the definition of industrial hemp under the Controlled Substances Act?” Hovland asked. “To me, it seems like the easiest solution.”Cole works for Forum Communications Co., which owns The Forum. She can be reached at (701) 224-0830 or forumcap btinet.netCopyright: 2007 Forum Communications Co. Fargo, ND§ion=News
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Comment #5 posted by ekim on November 12, 2007 at 19:27:39 PT
jp good going being in school.
hey yes hydro and much more-- have you or your class been to NREL --- you study ethanol have you seen with your own eyes the study that the govt paid 17 million for cutting the cost of enzymes for eating cellulose thus turning it to a sugar then able to be distilled in to ethanol/Genencor Meets First Technical Milestone in Biomass to Ethanol Project
Genencor Labs, Palo Alto, California
Genencor International, Inc. announced that it has achieved its first
technical milestone in its three-year contract with the U.S. Department of
Energy Biofuels Program. Genencor developed and validated processes for
improved cellulase enzymes that meet the intended objective at one-half the
cost of currently available technologies."Advances in molecular biology and functional genomics enable us to push the
frontiers of commercial development and we're pleased to be making progress
toward developing new enzyme systems to accomplish the goal of this
project," said Michael Arbige, Ph.D, Senior Vice President and Chief
Technology Officer.
The goal of the program is to develop new enzyme systems for the economic
conversion of plant matter into ethanol and other valuable materials. DOE
has determined that the cost of converting biomass into useable form is a
critical stumbling block to producing biofuels and chemicals from renewable
raw materials.Specifically, Genencor and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory are
working to deliver enzyme systems enabling a 10-fold improvement in the
economics of breaking down cellulosic material (plant matter) and other
complex carbohydrates into fermentable sugars. "The United States is the
world's leader in agriculture and biotechnology and the Department's biomass
research and development efforts take advantage of that position," said
David Garman, the U.S. Department of Energy's Assistant Secretary for Energy
Efficiency and Renewable Energy. "The President's Energy Policy promotes
the development of renewable energy sources and we look to biomass for
significant contributions to reducing America's dependence on foreign oil."Biomass and Solar Technologies Lauded
 Monday, July 12, 2004Golden, Colo. - Two technologies developed by the U.S. Department of
Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory are among this year's most
significant innovations, as judged by Research & Development (R&D) Magazine.The Laboratory's two R&D 100 Awards for 2004 are for an innovative,
lower-cost method for transforming plant material into the sugars that can
be used to make fuels and chemicals, and a thin-film solar cell that
produces electricity directly from sunlight, which has greater efficiency,
and is lighter weight and more flexible than previous devices.This year's announcement brings to 37 the number of R&D 100 Awards garnered
by NREL."Once again, the technologies developed by our Laboratory's researchers are
being acknowledged for their importance to the nation," said Stan Bull, NREL
associate director for science and technology. "It's particularly gratifying
that the R&D 100 Awards this year include two NREL technologies that can
enhance our nation's energy security and reduce our reliance on foreign
sources of oil."The Enzymatic Hydrolysis of Biomass Cellulose to Sugars technology is
expected to allow a wide range of biomass resources to be used to produce
energy and chemicals. It is an important step toward realizing the potential
of bio-refineries-in which plant and waste materials are used to produce an
array of fuels and chemicals, analogous to an oil refinery today.Through this technology, the cost of converting cellulosic biomass into
usable sugars can be reduced by more than 20 times per gallon of ethanol
produced.The award is shared by NREL, Genencor International and Novozymes Biotech,
Inc. NREL researchers who worked on this project included Michael Himmel,
Jim McMillan, Dan Schell, Jody Farmer, Nancy Dowe and Rafael Nieves.Also recognized for 2004 are light and flexible thin-film copper indium
gallium diselenide (CIGS) photovoltaic modules, which can be manufactured in
various sizes and have a compact, foldable design that allows for easy
deployment, transport and storage.As a result, the modules have twice the power-to-weight ratio, and three
times the power-to-size ratio as competing products. Because of this, they
are especially suited for military applications, portable power for consumer
and public use, boating and other marine applications and building-related
uses, such as for bus shelters and in PV-integrated roofing.The award is shared by NREL, Global Solar Energy and ITN Energy Systems.
NREL researchers who worked on this project included Harin Ullal, Ken
Zweibel and Bolko von Roedern.NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's premier laboratory for renewable
energy research and development and a leading laboratory for energy
efficiency R&D. NREL is operated for DOE by Midwest Research Institute and
For further information contact NREL Public Affairs at (303) 275-4090.NR-3404jp please invite the two farmers that want to grow hemp in ND to your class and have them tell you all the wonders that the plant has instore for jobs and health. we need carpet and plastic and paper innovations for the green evo
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on November 12, 2007 at 17:39:01 PT
I'm glad you enjoy the web site. I enjoy it too except when it tries to drive me to drink! LOL!PS: I'm just kidding.I don't drink. 
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Comment #3 posted by josephlacerenza on November 12, 2007 at 14:46:08 PT
I love this space we partake in!!!
FoM I have never addressed you specificall, but I do injoy the banter that abounds; politics this society that!!!!
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Comment #2 posted by josephlacerenza on November 12, 2007 at 14:40:00 PT
Cellulosic Ethanol
I am currently a student at Montana State University. I have been working on both cellulosic and cereal based ethaonl. The real solution is both. Diversity is the key. Another note, this ethanol thing is to be a transition not an ultimate solution. I see a more hydrogen based economy?
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Comment #1 posted by ekim on November 12, 2007 at 13:11:07 PT
cellulose ethanol
National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden CO has said that 
SwitchGrass will make 1,150 gal of ethanol per acre from cellulose.How much cellulose is in SwitchGrass and how does it compair with Hemp which has 77% cellulose with the outside of the plant left to produce fiber for cloths and much much more.corn for ethanol makes around 3-400 gal per acre 
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