For Immediate Release
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
CONTACT: Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671
Tom Murphy 207-542-4998
North Dakota's Licensed Hemp Farmers File Appeal in Eighth Circuit
BISMARCK, ND — Two North Dakota farmers, whose federal lawsuit to end the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) ban on state-licensed and regulated commercial hemp farming in the United States was dismissed on November 28, 2007, filed their appeal today in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. A copy of the appeal is available online.
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.
Vote Hemp, the nation's leading industrial hemp advocacy group, and its supporters are providing financial assistance for the lawsuit. If the suit is ultimately successful, states across the nation will be free to implement their own regulated hemp farming programs without fear of federal interference. More information about the case can be found online.
# # #
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.