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The Hemp Report

An online trade journal covering the North America hemp industry: agriculture, processing, marketing, research, business and regulatory news, and updates. Strong focus on hemp farming and developments in Canada.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Minnesota Public Radio On North Dakota Hemp 


     Dan Gunderson of Minnesota Public Radio has a really nice report on recent happenings in North Dakota. The story "North Dakota challenges federal ban on hemp" has a lot of nice features including Real Player audio, Web links, and a short slide show. Here is a larger version of the Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiative hemp image.

     I have one nit to pick, though. The story states that "Industrial hemp has been illegal in the United States for 50 years." which is not true. it is not illegal to grow hemp in the U.S. and it has only been in its current state since the adoption of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) in 1970.

     Jean Rawson, of the Congressional Research Service, also noted this in her 2005 CRS Report "Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity" for the U.S. Congress: "Strictly speaking, the CSA does not make Cannabis illegal; rather, it places the strictest controls on its production, making it illegal to grow the crop without a DEA permit."

     Growing hemp is kind of like driving, you can't drive without a license and you can't grow hemp without a permit. The difference is that it is almost impossible to get a permit from DEA to grow hemp. What we have now is essentially an administrative ban.

     The last commercial hemp crop was grown by farmers in the Waupun/Brandon, Wisconsin area for the Rens Hemp Company in in 1957 and was processed by their mills in 1958. The last crop of hemp permitted to be grown in the U.S. was used to eradicate Canada Thistle from corn fields. Two LaCrosse County, Wisconsin farmers obtained Licenses for hemp cover crops for the spring 1958 planting.

     The exemption for hemp in 21 U.S.C. 802(16) was carried over from the Marihuana Tax Act, but the registration provisions of the Act were not. Up until the decision in LEARY v. UNITED STATES, and the subsequent passage of the CSA, a farmer could have applied for and received a Producer of Marihuana Special Tax Stamp for $1.00. Now one would need to go through a mind numbing DEA Drug Registration, a process not intended for farmers, with high fees.

     The North Dakota Department of Agriculture has asked DEA to waive registration for hemp growers as part of their Hemp Farming program. We will see if they get a response from DEA.

posted by Tom  # 11:38 AM
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