BISMARCK, NORTH DAKOTA — Two North Dakota farmers, whose federal lawsuit to end the DEA’s ban on hemp farming was dismissed last November, filed their appeal today in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
Lawyers working on behalf of the farmers, State Representative David Monson and Wayne Hauge, are appealing the district court’s inexplicable ruling that said hemp and marijuana are the “same,” as the DEA has contended. The ruling failed to properly consider the Commerce Clause argument that the plaintiffs raised — that Congress cannot interfere with North Dakota’s state-regulated hemp program. Indeed, the lower court itself recognized in the decision under appeal that “the stalk, fiber, sterilized seed, and oil of the industrial hemp plant, and their derivatives, are legal under federal law, and those parts of the plant are expressly excluded from the definition of ‘marijuana’ under the CSA [Controlled Substances Act].”
“This appeal is basically saying why can Canadian farmers grow non-drug industrial hemp plants to produce perfectly legal hemp fiber and seed commodities for the interstate US market, but North Dakota farmers cannot under North Dakota’s state-regulated industrial hemp program,” says Vote Hemp President Eric Steenstra. “The DEA has banned hemp farming for 50 years by conflating hemp and marijuana on very shaky legal ground while at the same time imports of hemp fiber, seed and oil are allowed. With North Dakota regulating industrial hemp, there is no reasonable threat farmers would be able to grow marijuana without being caught,” says Steenstra.
Scientific evidence clearly shows that industrial hemp, which includes the oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis that would be grown pursuant to North Dakota law, is genetically distinct from the drug varieties of Cannabis and has absolutely no use as a recreational drug.
More information about hemp legislation and the crop’s many uses may be found at http://www.VoteHemp.com and http://www.HempIndustries.org.
Regardless what people may think about medical marijuana or consumer cannabis, it’s nearly impossible to understand why anyone would want to ban industrial hemp. Essentially it’s illegal because it looks like marijuana (and even then, it doesn’t really look like something you’d want to smoke). You can’t get high from it, you can’t hide marijuana in hemp fields because cross-pollination would ruin both crops, and it would be a fantastic cash crop for our struggling farmers.
Making hemp illegal because it looks like marijuana is like making powdered sugar illegal because it looks like cocaine.