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Government Wants Hemp Lawsuit Thrown Out

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
The Justice Department is asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by two North Dakota farmers who applied to the Drug Enforcement Administration for permission to grow industrial hemp.

The motion filed this week in federal court in Fargo says federal law does not distinguish between industrial hemp and marijuana, which can cause mood changes when smoked or eaten. It also says Dave Monson, a state legislator who farms near Osnabrock, and Wayne Hauge, a farmer from Ray in northwestern North Dakota, do not have a case because the DEA has not finished reviewing their applications and they cannot prove serious harm.

Tim Purdon, a Bismarck attorney who represents the farmers, called the DEA's response "predictable and without merit."

The farmers' lawsuit, filed in June, asks a federal judge to recognize that hemp can legally be grown in North Dakota through the state licensing process, which was approved by the North Dakota Agriculture Department late last year.

"The DEA continues to confuse industrial hemp and marijuana, and pretends that they can't allow states to regulate hemp farming," Purdon said Wednesday. "Both assertions are untrue and misleading."

Purdon said he would file a response to the defense motion within a few weeks.

Monson and Hauge in February were issued the nation's first state licenses to grow industrial hemp, which falls under federal anti-drug rules because it has trace amounts of the mind-altering chemical THC. The North Dakota licenses are worthless without federal permission.

North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson hand-delivered applications from the two farmers to the DEA in mid-February, along with the farmers' nonrefundable $2,293 annual federal registration fees.

Johnson asked for a decision by April 1 so the farmers could get a crop in the ground. The DEA said that was unreasonable because the approval process included, among other steps, a 60-day comment period, a background check of the applicants and a farm inspection.

Monson had planned to seed 10 acres and Hauge planned to seed 100 acres of industrial hemp, which can be used to make everything from paper to lotion and is legally grown in several other countries including Canada. It is too late in the growing season for the North Dakota farmers to seed a hemp crop this year, and their state licenses are good for only one season.

The DEA earlier rejected a request from Johnson to waive the federal registration requirement for hemp cultivation.

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Source: Bismarck Tribune
Contact: Bismarck Tribune - Contact Us
Copyright: 2007 Bismarck Tribune
Website: Government wants industrial hemp lawsuit thrown out
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