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The DEA says it's merely enforcing the law.
The DEA claims the farmers' lawsuit is misguided because the agency is obligated to enforce the Controlled Substances Act.
"Hemp comes from cannabis. It's kind of a Catch 22 there," said DEA spokesman Michael Sanders. "Until Congress does something, we have to enforce the laws."
Asked if the DEA opposes the stalled House Resolution 1009, which would nix industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana, Sanders said the Justice Department and President Bush would make that call.
"When it comes to laws, we don't have a dog in that fight," he said.
The Justice Department has no position yet on the resolution, said spokesman Erik Ablin. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, however, is skeptical because of the burden hemp would place on law enforcement resources. Also, hemp advocates are regularly backed -- sometimes surreptitiously -- by the pro-marijuana movement, the office alleges.
"ONDCP cautions that, historically, the hemp movement has been almost entirely funded by the well-organized and well-funded marijuana legalization lobby," said spokesman Tom Riley. "All we do is ask people not to be naive about what's really going on here."
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