As the stories in this Weekly News
Update show, there is a lot at stake in
the farmers' lawsuit in North Dakota. We
expect an initial decision (on the DEA's motion to
dismiss) from Judge Hovland
by the end of the month. The court transcripts of last week's oral
arguments are quite revealing, and this is a very
interesting case on legal, intellectual and practical
Last week I attended the
Capitol Advantage Customer Day Conference and
Capitol Hill reception in Washington, DC. It was
very revealing that a large number of
people attending the event had seen and
read the featured Washington Post
story by Peter Slevin. The theme for this
year's conference was "The Art and Science of
Influence." Even though Vote Hemp is
relatively small, we are a national,
single-issue, non-profit organization, and much of the
training was very
applicable to us. A wide range of subjects
were covered and included everything from
tools and methods for effective
communication to overcoming objections to
intellectual and emotional reasons for
Former Congressman Max Sandlin of Texas, now
with Fleishman-Hillard Government Relations,
was one of the speakers in the first session
on influencing a legislator's decision-making
process. I was able to ask a question on
industrial hemp, and Congressman Sandlin both
understood the subject and answered the
question well. He did so on an intellectual
and professional level, and he obviously saw the
issue as an agricultural one and kept
his personal emotions in check.
Dr. Frank Luntz, the keynote speaker, did not
do as well with the issue of hemp farming. I
was privileged to ask the last question in
his lecture, "It's Not What You Say, It's What
People Hear," which addressed what words should
be used to overcome objections to industrial
hemp farming. He lamented that mine was the last
question, and stated that there was no way to
the objections at all. It was obvious from the beginning
that his answer would come from an emotional
perspective rather than a rational one.
In the space of a minute, he went from the
word "hemp" to hard drugs and recounted the
death of a good and talented friend. The
emotional overcame the intellectual, and he
could not answer my question on a
professional level. All too often, that is what
we see in the legislative process as well.
A single word can evoke very powerful responses,
often out of
proportion to reality. Compared to the issue
of hemp farming on a national level, wearing
a t-shirt with the word "hemp" on it to school
may seem insignificant, but it can also garner such a
strong response. Recently a
student at an Alabama high school was banned
from wearing t-shirts advocating the use
of hemp on them, and he is finding similar
emotional responses. In a letter the school
Superintendent equated wearing a shirt with
the word hemp on it to wearing a Confederate
flag! Just because some authorities in our
society have tried to hijack the definition
of the word hemp and have it refer only to
drug varieties of Cannabis does not mean
we need to accept it. We know better.
Education is the answer, but it will take time.
Please make a contribution
to Vote Hemp today to help us continue our
legislative and educational work.
We need and truly appreciate your support!
Weekly News Update Editor
|Farmers Continue Fight to Grow Industrial Hemp
Osnabrock farmer David
Monson. Photo credit: Marvin Baker, The Minot Daily
By Marvin Baker
The Minot Daily
November 15, 2007
BISMARCK, ND — David Monson wants to grow
industrial hemp for economic reasons, and
Wayne Hauge said it will fit in well with his
Hauge and Monson, who filed a lawsuit against
the federal government to stop industrial
hemp prohibition, faced a pool of reporters
following oral arguments Wednesday in U.S.
District Court in Bismarck.
Monson, who has been working on legalizing
industrial hemp for 10 years and introduced a
bill into the 1999 Legislature to have it
legalized, said Canadian farmers are making
$300 an acre profit on a commodity that is
grown a mere 24 miles north of his Osnabrock
farm across the international boundary.
|Alberta Seeks New Use for Hemp
Alberta Research Council scientist
John Wolodko. Photo credit: John Lucas, The
By Hanneke Brooymans
November 16, 2007
EDMONTON, ALBERTA — For centuries,
found practical uses for hemp, weaving it
into items such as rope and clothing. Now the
Alberta Research Council wants to tighten
those bonds by determining more cutting-edge
uses for this versatile plant.
A new two-year, $2.25-million project hopes
to find ways to blend Alberta-grown hemp
fibers with locally-produced plastics to
create more sustainable materials.
The research council is well placed to do
this work because it has spent the last
decade working on biofibers and bioindustrial
products, said John Wolodko, the council's
biocomposite program leader.
|North Dakota Producers Still Awaiting Court Decision on Industrial Hemp
ND Agriculture Commissioner Roger
Johnson explains why potential hemp farmers
had to sue the DEA at a news conference held
at the federal building in Bismarck, ND on
June 18, 2007. Photo credit: Farm & Ranch
By Sue Roesler
Farm & Ranch
November 9, 2007
Producers Wayne Hauge of Ray and Dave Monson
of Osnabrock haven't given up attempts to
grow the profitable crop industrial hemp on
their northern North Dakota farms.
The state of North Dakota has issued them
licenses and fully supports their efforts.
NDSU, the state land grant university, also
recently filed a brief to the court,
supporting the producers.
But the federal government, specifically the
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), has been
Farmers Ask Federal Court to Dissociate Hemp and Pot
Hemp harvester. Photo credit: Hempline,
By Peter Slevin
November 12, 2007
Wayne Hauge grows grains, chickpeas and some
lentils on 2,000 acres in northern North
Dakota. Business is up and down, as the
farming trade tends to be, and he is always
on the lookout for a new crop. He tried
sunflowers and safflowers and black beans.
Now he has set his sights on hemp.
Hemp, a strait-laced cousin of marijuana, is
an ingredient in products from fabric and
food to carpet backing and car door panels.
Farmers in 30 countries grow it. But it is
illegal to cultivate the plant in the United
States without federal approval, to the
frustration of Hauge and many boosters of
North Dakota agriculture.
On Wednesday, Hauge and David C. Monson, a
fellow aspiring hemp farmer, will ask a
federal judge in Bismarck to force the Drug
Enforcement Administration (DEA) to yield to a
state law that would license them to become