Montana Issues License To Grow Hemp
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Montana Issues License To Grow Hemp
Posted by CN Staff on October 27, 2009 at 18:18:52 PT
By Matthew Brown, Associated Press Writer
Source: Bismarck Tribune
Billings, Mont. -- Montana this month issued its first license for an industrial hemp-growing operation to a woman who said she wants to develop a domestic market for the plant despite federal law barring its cultivation.Laura Murphy, of Bozeman, was the first to apply for the two-year license since the state Legislature approved hemp's commercial cultivation in 2001. Federal law prohibits such activity, but the license issued by the Montana Agriculture Department on Oct. 14 could challenge whether the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is willing to override the state.
Hemp is similar to illegal marijuana but without the mind-altering ingredient of the drug. It is grown in parts of Canada and Europe and has a range of uses, from fibers for clothing to a source of biofuels.Murphy called the application process "pretty easy.""I went in and had a criminal history check and fingerprints and said I had land to grow it on," she said. "They didn't have an official license for me; it's just a letter."She said she intends to lease 160 acres of unused ranch land near Ennis and is trying to arrange contracts with buyers.Murphy, 42, said she is a former dog groomer who works as the office manager for a Bozeman medical marijuana business. She said there would be a separation between that business, which is run by her fiance, and the planned hemp growing operation.The Obama administration last week loosened guidelines on federal prosecution of medical marijuana operations, which grow potent forms of the plant used to treat Parkinson's disease, chronic pain, glaucoma and other ailments.The Justice Department told federal prosecutors that targeting people who use or provide medical marijuana in compliance with state laws was not a good use of their time.Montana applied to the DEA in 2002 for recognition of the state's hemp growing law. The request was denied, but Montana Agriculture Department attorney Cort Jensen said it could be reconsidered now that a license has gone out."Obviously hemp is a little different than ordinary marijuana, but they have declined in the past," he said. In the meantime, he added: "We will administer the state law."In her license, Murphy was warned by Jensen that "growing hemp is still illegal.""You still need to get permission from the Drug Enforcement Agency in order to grow it without facing the possibility of federal charges or property confiscation," he wrote.DEA spokesman Mike Turner said federal drug agents will be watching to see if Murphy moves ahead without the federal permit - something she said she has no intention to seek."We try to concentrate our investigations on major criminal organizations that traffic drugs. That's our priority," Turner said. "We can't speculate about what's going to happen until somebody actually does something."He said some hemp operations had received clearance to grow after installing fencing and security to prevent public access, but he could not say how many permits have been issued.Jensen also said that if she wished to use pesticides, Murphy would have to make arrangements through the Agriculture Department since none is currently approved for hemp.The advocacy group Vote Hemp lists Montana as one of nine states that have removed barriers to hemp production or research.Angela Goodhope with the Montana Hemp Council said the license given to Murphy marks "a big deal as far as state's rights go.""The wheels are turning to allow our farmers to have another good alternative rotational crop," Goodhope said.Posted in State-and-regional on Tuesday, October 27, 2009Source: Bismarck Tribune (ND)Author: Matthew Brown, Associated Press WriterPublished: Tuesday, October 27, 2009 Copyright: 2009 The Bismarck TribuneWebsite: http://www.bismarcktribune.comURL: Hemp Archives
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Comment #5 posted by josephlacerenza on October 29, 2009 at 14:13:52 PT
Take Heed You Other States with Hemp Laws
This is a wake up call!!! Do you hear the phone?This is the time to push, and push hard!!!The door has been opened for those who have the means to try to PUSH the DEAth over!!I live in Montana, and close to this woman, I want to go see her field!!!She, unlike the Oglala Sioux Tribe/White Plume in South Dakota, has a hemp law in her state to help protect her from the DEA.15 of you other states take notice!!!!Let us OVERGROW the opposition!!!
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Comment #4 posted by HempWorld on October 27, 2009 at 19:22:21 PT
Go Laura!
I admire you and hope you will prevail.
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Comment #3 posted by EAH on October 27, 2009 at 19:05:55 PT:
Career DEA employees may act without direct orders not to from Obama Administration superiors. For the knuckleheads in the DEA, their ship is springing leaks, they fear the situation is sliding down a slippery slope and
they surely feel the need to put out this fire. 
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on October 27, 2009 at 18:29:59 PT
I agree!
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on October 27, 2009 at 18:26:02 PT
Why on earth would an Obama administration honor state's rights with medical use of cannabis and not allow state's rights with industrial use of hemp w/o THC?The only reason I can think of is because it hasn't become an issue in the Obama admin.State citizens should grow hemp and be prepaired to get this issue in front of Obama.I believe hemp will be grown during Obama's 1st term.MOVIN' FORWARD
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