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Congress Should Solve Hemp Issue-But Will It?


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A federal judge's decision to dismiss a hemp lawsuit filed against the U.S. government wasn't much of a surprise.

Judge Daniel Hovland dismissed the suit filed by North Dakota farmers Wayne Hauge and Dave Monson, who filed the suit to stop the federal government from prosecuting them for growing industrial hemp.

North Dakota approved regulations last year allowing the growth of industrial hemp, which is used to make a variety of product, including clothing, rope and lotion.

Although state law allows the growth of hemp, the federal government has not changed its stance. The Drug Enforcement Administration considers hemp to be the same as its cousin, marijuana, and therefore is illegal to grow. The federal law does not distinguish between hemp and marijuana because hemp contains trace amounts of the chemical THC, which is found in much heavier amounts in marijuana.

The DEA must approve any permits to grow industrial hemp, and has not yet acted on a permit request from the two North Dakota farmers, prompting the lawsuit.

Hovland believes the issue should be settled by Congress, and he's probably right. But that means there won't be a decision made in the near future. Given Congress' track record of dragging its feet on huge issues like the farm bill or the energy bill, where does that leave hemp?

Congress is the right place to solve this issue, but we don't expect anything to happen soon, which certainly doesn't help any North Dakota farmers looking for another specialty crop.

Source: Minot Daily News (ND)
Copyright: 2007 Minot Daily News
Contact: THE MINOT DAILY NEWS - Virtual Newsroom
Website: Minot Daily News
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