For Immediate Release
Friday, Febuary 17, 2006
ND Department of Agriculture Press Release
Patrice Lahlum or Ted Quanrud 701-328-2231
State to Seek Okay to Grow
BISMARCK, ND —
North Dakota and three other states made their case
Friday with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
(DEA) to allow the cultivation of industrial hemp.
"The DEA people were very cordial,
but they told us that the process of legalizing the
production of industrial hemp will be extremely complicated
under existing federal law," said Agriculture Commissioner
Roger Johnson. "The DEA has never responded to
our earlier inquiries, but today we were able to present
our case and learn from them what may be required in
terms of regulations and safeguards."
Johnson and the agriculture commissioners
from Massachusetts, West Virginia and Wisconsin met
with DEA officials, including Joseph Rannazzisi (Deputy
Assistant Administrator), Robert C. Gleason (Deputy
Chief Counsel) and Eric Akres (Chief of Congressional
Johnson said the North Dakota Department
of Agriculture is in the process of drafting new rules
to control the production of industrial hemp, and that
he wanted to solicit input from the DEA. The new rules
would implement state laws passed by the North Dakota
legislature from 1999 through 2005.
"We were told by the DEA that growers,
processors and importers of hemp seed would each have
to be separately licensed, and that the DEA would need
to establish quotas for the production and processing
of industrial hemp," he said.
Johnson noted that the United States is
alone among industrialized countries in banning cultivation
of industrial hemp.
"The Canadians lifted their ban in
1998 and are now moving forward with large-scale cultivation
of industrial hemp," he said. "It is obviously
a crop that could do very well in North Dakota and provide
our producers with another income source, as well as
a valuable rotational crop."
Industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa) is widely
grown around the world and is used in the manufacture
of textiles, paper and rope. Its seed is also used for
food and feed. Oil derived from the plant is used in
cosmetics, paints and medicinal compounds. Although
the industrial form of hemp contains only trace amounts
of the psychoactive drug delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol
(THC) found in marijuana, the DEA does not currently
recognize the plant as distinct from marijuana.
More information about industrial hemp
may be found at www.VoteHemp.com