Judge Urges Congress To Settle Hemp Suit

Judge Urges Congress To Settle Hemp Suit
Posted by CN Staff on November 22, 2007 at 05:01:36 PT
By  Blake Nicholson, Associated Press Writer
Source: Associated Press
Bismarck, N.D. --The federal judge handling two farmers' lawsuit against the U.S. government over the right to grow industrial hemp says the matter might be better handled by Congress than the courts."Isn't the best remedy to amend the definition of industrial hemp (in federal law)?" Judge Dan Hovland asked during a recent court hearing. "To me, it seems like the easiest solution."
North Dakota farmers Wayne Hauge and Dave Monson want Hovland to bar the federal government from prosecuting them for growing industrial hemp under state regulations approved last year.Hemp - which can be used for a variety of products, from rope to skin lotion - falls under federal anti-drug rules because it has trace amounts of the mind-altering chemical tetrahydrocannabinol that is found in its cousin, marijuana.The Justice Department says federal law classifies hemp as a controlled substance under Drug Enforcement Administration regulation. The department's lawyers have asked that Hovland dismiss the farmers' lawsuit, and the judge pledged to decide by the end of the month.Hemp "is still marijuana for the purpose of federal law," Justice Department lawyer Wendy Ertmer told Hovland at the hearing last week.Joseph Sandler, an attorney for the farmers, said the federal Controlled Substances Act exempts such products as sterilized hemp seed and fiber, which is what Hauge and Monson plan to produce. He also said it is unlikely that farmers would used industrial hemp crops to secretly grow marijuana because their fields would be documented with the government and subject to search.In February, Monson and Hauge received their state licenses to grow industrial hemp, the first such licenses issued in the country. They were issued under North Dakota Agriculture Department rules approved late last year.The licenses are worthless without DEA approval, however, and the agency has not acted on the farmers' applications. North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson hand-delivered them to the DEA in mid-February along with the farmers' nonrefundable $2,293 annual federal registration fees.The farmers say the DEA's failure to approve their applications thwarted their plans to get a hemp crop in the ground last spring. The government says it was not reasonable for the farmers to expect a quick decision, and that the farmers should wait for a DEA decision before suing.Hovland was skeptical that the DEA will ever approve the farmers' application. "I think we can all sit here and agree it ain't gonna happen," he said.Monson called the DEA's inaction on the applications "a de facto denial," saying the government can simply wait to rule until it is too late for farmers to plant a crop.Ertmer and Sandler agreed with Hovland that a change in federal law might be the best method of dealing with the issue of industrial hemp cultivation. Hovland said legislation has been introduced in Congress to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana.Adam Eidinger, a spokesman for Vote Hemp, a nonprofit lobbying group that is funding the farmers' lawsuit, said hearings on that bill are not expected until next spring. He said many members of Congress want to wait on legislation until the North Dakota legal case is resolved."Really, North Dakota is a test case," Eidinger said. "If we succeed, we'll be able to see if farmers can grow the crop. If we fail, it puts more pressure on Congress to act."Source: Associated Press (Wire)Author: Blake Nicholson, Associated Press WriterPublished: November 22, 2007Copyright: 2007 Associated Press Related Articles: Farmers Ask Court To Dissociate Hemp & Pot Fungus Has North Dakota Longing for Hemp Late To Plant Hemp, Farmers File Suit
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on November 29, 2007 at 18:49:02 PT
Breaking News from The Associated Press
Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Filed by Farmers Seeking To Grow Hemp...***November 29, 2007Bismarck, N.D. (AP) A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by two North Dakota farmers who want to grow industrial hemp.Judge Daniel Hovland says the farmers should take their case to Congress, and try to get hemp removed from the federal Controlled Substances Act. Right now hemp is not distinguished from its illegal cousin, marijuana.The lawsuit filed by farmers Wayne Hauge (HOW'-ghee) and Dave Monson, who also is a state legislator, sought to bar the federal government from prosecuting them for growing industrial hemp under state regulations approved last year.Hauge says he's disappointed but not surprised at the judge's ruling.Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman Garrison Courtney says the agency is satisfied with Hovland's decision.Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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Comment #8 posted by NikoKun on November 24, 2007 at 16:43:10 PT
There is simply no good reason for Hemp to remain illegal.Although there isn't much reason for Marijuana to remain illegal either.
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Comment #7 posted by John Tyler on November 23, 2007 at 19:16:17 PT
trying to punt
A Federal judge in this part of the country, judging a hot potato issue like this. No surprise he is trying to punt. 
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Comment #6 posted by afterburner on November 23, 2007 at 07:39:17 PT
1938, Popular Mechanics, hemp 1st 'billion $ crop'
Excerpt: {
In 1938, Popular Mechanics named hemp the first "billion dollar crop" for the U.S.
}CN ON: Edu: Hemp Helps With Green Movement, The Gazette, (21 Nov 2007)
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Comment #5 posted by The GCW on November 22, 2007 at 19:32:43 PT
A question for prohibitionists
Why is it ok for communist Chinese farmers to grow hemp but not free American farmers?
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Comment #4 posted by mayan on November 22, 2007 at 18:27:49 PT
The Fascist Agenda
In order to completely destroy Our Constitution the fascists have to destroy our country first. They are having tremendous success.The cannabis plant could save this country but that just doesn't fit the agenda that was drawn out long ago.SHADOW OF THE SWASTIKA: The Real Reason the Government Won't Debate Medical Cannabis and Industrial Hemp Re-legalization:
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Comment #3 posted by gloovins on November 22, 2007 at 13:49:40 PT
Forever waiting...
It's sad that We the people still have to grovel & beg to grow such a necessary crop. I've said it before, if Geo Washington & Thomas Jefferson we alive today they would be so shocked to find we have banned hemp crops! This judge who says that an act of Congress would be the "easiest solution" well yeah duh but I don't see this congress or the last 37 congresses amending the CSA for hemp crop cultivation. Hell, our tax dollars went to US attorney's pockets to try to ban hemp foods! (waffles, hemp seed oil etc) Wtf?!Anyway, I looked up this article on the real meaning of thanksgiving:THE REAL STORY OF THANKSGIVINGby Susan BatesMost of us associate the holiday with happy Pilgrims and Indians sitting down to a big feast. And that did happen - once.The story began in 1614 when a band of English explorers sailed home to England with a ship full of Patuxet Indians bound for slavery. They left behind smallpox which virtually wiped out those who had escaped. By the time the Pilgrims arrived in Massachusetts Bay they found only one living Patuxet Indian, a man named Squanto who had survived slavery in England and knew their is below everyone is well (& warm where it's cold) :)
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Comment #2 posted by potpal on November 22, 2007 at 11:52:05 PT
Hemp suit
Where can I get one?Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Thanks for being there.
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Comment #1 posted by potpal on November 22, 2007 at 11:50:13 PT
who rules
Apparently its not the elected officials who rule but the stinkin' bureaucrats like those at the DEAth whose job it is to keep their stinkin' jobs. Just take the farmers money and do nothing like a good government worker. 'Tax payers hard earned dollars' is their drug and they are addicted.Cannabis prohibition is a crime.
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