For Immediate Release
Thursday, September 20, 2007
CONTACT: Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671
Tom Murphy 207-542-4998
North Dakota Farmers File Motion for Summary Judgment in Hemp Farming Case
Motion Includes Response to DEA's Motion to Dismiss
BISMARCK, ND — Two North Dakota farmers, State Rep. David Monson from Osnabrock and Wayne Hauge from Ray, have filed a Motion for Summary Judgment in a lawsuit filed June 18 in U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota that seeks to end the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) obstruction of state-licensed and state-regulated commercial hemp farming in the United States. The farmers are seeking a declaration that they cannot be criminally prosecuted for growing hemp under state regulations, now in effect in North Dakota, which ensure cultivated plants have no potential drug value and are grown solely for the production of legal hemp fiber and seed commodities. The Motion and other legal documents can be viewed online.
"The DEA cannot purport to extend Congressional authority under the Commerce Clause via the Controlled Substances Act in order to interfere with North Dakota's industrial hemp program, in which only federally-exempted, entirely legal hemp fiber and seed commodities are placed into interstate commerce," says Tim Purdon, an attorney working on the case. "North Dakota regulations enforce conservatively strict non-psychoactive THC limits similar to Canadian regulations, which ensure there is no drug value in any part of the plant that could be diverted into the interstate market for recreational marijuana."
The farmers were issued their state licenses to grow industrial hemp from North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson in February 2007. Pursuant to North Dakota law at that time, the farmers also applied for a DEA license to grow industrial hemp. Over the next few months, however, the DEA's delay and expressed intent to review the applications as if the farmers intended to grow an unprecedented amount of Schedule I drugs, versus cultivate a non-drug agricultural crop, fueled frustration in North Dakota's legislature. In April, the legislature changed their law, removing the requirement for a DEA license and asserting that the state license itself was fully sufficient.
An Affidavit accompanying the Motion from Professor Burton Johnson of North Dakota State University (NDSU) included a formal letter from NDSU to the DEA this summer. In the letter, NDSU relays that the public university was directed in 1998 by North Dakota state law to collect and cultivate feral, local wild hemp in order to begin breeding industrial hemp varieties 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. NDSU filed for a license from the DEA in 1999, but to date the agency has failed to act on the application. Please click here to download a copy of the letter. (PDF file 176k)
"The national movement supporting farmers' right to grow hemp learned from the NDSU example that the DEA has no intention of being rational about facilitating non-drug industrial hemp research and cultivation, even when it's by a major university," says Vote Hemp President Eric Steenstra. Vote Hemp's grassroots supporters are funding this legal action to overcome the irrational hysteria and bureaucratic inertia of the DEA, and to restore industrial hemp farming to American farmers. Vote Hemp is dedicating this effort to recently-deceased Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop, and Michael Sutherland, former board member of the Hemp Industries Association (HIA). Both were trail-blazing pioneers in the modern restoration and renaissance of the global hemp industry.
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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.