North Dakota's Licensed Hemp Farmers Appeal Federal Court Decision

Dec 12, 2007, 00:00 ET from Vote Hemp

    BISMARCK, N.D., Dec. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Two North Dakota
 farmers, who filed a federal lawsuit in June to end the U.S. Drug
 Enforcement Administration's (DEA) ban on commercial hemp farming in the
 United States and had their case dismissed on November 28, have filed a
 notice of appeal today in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
     Lawyers working on behalf of the farmers, Representative David Monson
 and Wayne Hauge, are appealing a number of issues. In particular, the lower
 court inexplicably ruled that hemp and marijuana are the "same," as the DEA
 has contended, and thus failed to properly consider the Commerce Clause
 argument that the plaintiffs raised -- that Congress cannot interfere with
 North Dakota's state-regulated hemp program. Scientific evidence clearly
 shows that industrial hemp, which includes the oilseed and fiber varieties
 of Cannabis that would have been grown pursuant to North Dakota law, is
 genetically distinct from the drug varieties of Cannabis and has absolutely
 no recreational drug effect.
     Even though the farmers' legal battle continues, the lawsuit prompted
 the DEA to respond to the North Dakota State University (NDSU) application
 for federal permission to grow industrial hemp for research purposes, which
 has languished for nearly a decade. University officials, however, say it
 could cost them more than $50,000 to install 10-foot-high fences and meet
 other strict DEA requirements such as high-powered lighting. NDSU officials
 are reviewing the DEA's proposal, and Vote Hemp is hopeful that an
 agreement can be reached before planting season gets under way. If an
 agreement between the DEA and NDSU is reached and ultimately signed, it
 would pave the way for agricultural hemp research and development in North
 Dakota. Such research is key to developing varieties of industrial hemp
 best suited for North Dakota's climate.
     "We are happy this lawsuit is moving forward with an appeal," says Eric
 Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp, a non-profit organization working to
 bring industrial hemp farming back to the U.S. "We feel that the lower
 court's decision not only overlooks Congress's original legislative intent,
 but also fails to stand up for fundamental states' rights against
 overreaching federal regulation. Canada grows over 30,000 acres of
 industrial hemp annually without any law enforcement problems. In our
 federalist society, it is not the burden of North Dakota's citizens to ask
 Congress in Washington, D.C. to clear up its contradictory and confusing
 regulations concerning Cannabis; it is their right to grow industrial hemp
 pursuant to their own state law and the United States Constitution," adds
     Vote Hemp, the nation's leading industrial hemp advocacy group, and its
 supporters are providing financial support for the lawsuit. If it is
 ultimately successful, states across the nation will be free to implement
 their own hemp farming laws without fear of federal interference. More on
 the case can be found at:
     Vote Hemp is a national, single-issue, non-profit organization
 dedicated to the acceptance of and a 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 or 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.

SOURCE Vote Hemp