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Farmers To File Lawsuit Over Hemp


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Two North Dakota farmers will file a lawsuit against the federal Drug Enforcement Agency next week in their ongoing fight over the approval of industrial hemp production, the state's agriculture commissioner said Friday.

Commissioner Roger Johnson said farmers Dave Monson and Wayne Hauge will file the lawsuit on Monday.

Earlier this year, the state issued licenses to the farmers to grow industrial hemp, a cousin of marijuana that falls under federal anti-drug rules even though it does not produce a high. But the state licenses are worthless without DEA permission.

In February, Johnson hand-delivered to the DEA the applications from Monson, a state lawmaker who farms near Osnabrock, and Hauge, a farmer from Ray, along with the farmers' nonrefundable $2,293 annual federal registration fees.

Johnson asked for a decision by April so the farmers could have time to plant the crop. But that did not happen.

Johnson said he could not disclose details about the lawsuit, but offered his own opinion on the DEA's lack of action.

"I think people are genuinely very, very frustrated with DEA," he said.

Monson and Hauge could not be reached Friday for comment on the lawsuit. A spokeswoman for the DEA said she could not comment on the lawsuit because it has not been filed.

Review of the farmers' applications is ongoing, spokeswoman Rogene Waite said.

"My understanding is that they are still in process," she said.

Johnson repeatedly has said he is upset that DEA refers to industrial hemp as marijuana and won't distinguish between the two.

"To me, that is the biggest single issue here," he said.

News Mod: CoZmO - 420Magazine.com
Source: Forbes.com (NY)
Contact: info@ap.org
Copyright: 2007 Associated Press
Website: Farmers to File Lawsuit Over Hemp - Forbes.com
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