For Immediate Release
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
CONTACT: Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671
Tom Murphy 207-542-4998
North Dakota Farmers Await August 24 Deadline for DEA to Respond to Lawsuit to Grow Industrial Hemp
NDSU Sends Comment in Support of Plaintiff's Application to DEA
BISMARCK, ND — Two North Dakota farmers, who filed a lawsuit June 18 in U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota in an effort to end the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) obstruction of commercial hemp farming in the United States, are awaiting official response from DEA by August 24. In a related new development, North Dakota State University (NDSU) recently sent a letter to DEA expressing strong support for the would be hemp farmers and plaintiffs David Monson and Wayne Hauge, both of whom applied for bulk cannabis manufacturer licenses earlier this year from DEA. A copy of the letter is available online.
In the comment, NDSU reminded DEA that the public university is directed by North Dakota state law to collect and cultivate wild hemp locally to begin breeding of industrial hemp that could best thrive in North Dakota's climate and meet the requirement of 3/10 of one percent THC or less in flowering tops of the plant. Since 1999 NDSU has awaited DEA's response to its own application that would give federal permission which had been required under state law until very recently. In April North Dakota's legislature changed their law cutting out DEA from the process entirely.
"The national movement supporting farmers right to grow hemp learned from the NDSU example that DEA has no intention of being rational about facilitating non-drug industrial hemp research, even when it's by a major university," says Vote Hemp President, Eric Steenstra. "In the new lawsuit brought by farmers that we are supporting, the strategy has been to put hemp farming on our timeline by acting on the fact North Dakota's hemp regulations no longer require a DEA license. We hope that NDSU will join our lawsuit against DEA's interference as the university's own license application has been ignored for 8 years and is no longer required in our opinion," adds Steenstra.
If successful, Monson v. DEA would result in state licensed hemp farmers receiving assurances that no federal agency could hold them criminally liable under the Controlled Substances Act. Vote Hemp's grassroots supporters are funding the legal action. A copy of the complaint is available online.
The farmers – State Rep. David Monson from Osnabrock and Wayne Hauge from Ray – were issued their state licenses to grow industrial hemp from North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson in February 2007. At that time the farmers applied for a DEA permit to grow industrial hemp and Rep. Monson also applied for a license to import live hemp seed. Over the next few months, however, the agency's inaction on the applications fueled frustration in North Dakota's legislature.
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Vote Hemp is a national, single-issue, nonprofit organization dedicated to the acceptance of and free market for low-THC industrial hemp and to changes in current law to allow U.S. farmers to once again grow this agricultural crop. More information about hemp legislation and the crop's many uses may be found at www.VoteHemp.com or www.HempIndustries.org. BETA SP or DVD Video News Releases featuring footage of hemp farming in other countries are available upon request by contacting Adam Eidinger at 202-744-2671.