Industrial hemp progress in the US?
(Expand the entry to read about it...)
Hemp Lawsuit UPDATE: Judge Promises Decision by End of November in Monson v. DEA Hauge, Monson and Purdon in ND
BISMARCK, ND (October 29, 2007) — Two North Dakota farmers who filed a lawsuit in June to end the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) ban on commercial hemp farming in the United States were in U.S. District Court on Wednesday, November 14, 2007. The farmers, State Rep. David Monson of Osnabrock and Wayne Hauge of Ray, observed the oral arguments made before Judge Daniel Hovland on their behalf by attorneys Tim Purdon and Joe Sandler.
Judge Hovland stated he had read and re-read the briefs filed by both sides in the landmark case and concluded the hearing by saying, "I promise to make a decision by the end of the month," in regards to the DEA's motion to dismiss. In the meantime, Judge Hovland stayed the farmers' motion for summary judgment, as he felt the motion to dismiss should be dealt with first.
The oral arguments revealed numerous weak points that the DEA is relying on to thwart this landmark case. Their assertion that the farmers didn't have standing because they haven't grown industrial hemp yet was rejected by Judge Hovland when he said 'I am not convinced that the plaintiffs have to expose themselves to prosecution' and reminded Department of Justice (DOJ) Attorney Wendy Ertmer, who argued on behalf of the government, that 'this Court has jurisdiction to make a declaratory judgment,' which is what this lawsuit is seeking.
What does all this mean?
Most importantly, the fight to bring back hemp farming is in uncharted waters. There has never been a case like this one. The oral arguments made this week were based on a new set of circumstances made possible by the change of North Dakota's hemp farming law earlier this year. Allowing farmers to get a state-issued license to grow industrial hemp and not be forced to waste their time with the DEA is both rational and legal.
Since Vote Hemp was formed in 2000, we have never been closer to our ultimate goal of bringing back hemp farming in the U.S. ...
As a company that sells gorgeous hemp fabrics, and simply as people who strongly believe in the myriad benefits of industrial hemp for food, paper, clothing, insulation, and more, we're following this lawsuit with great interest. American farmers, factories, and the economy in general would very strongly benefit from the legalization of the crop. (Living in New Mexico, where water is always of paramount importance, hemp's water-thrifty nature is an incredible plus of course. With the water problems that the world is looking at now forecast to only worsen in the future, this is just one reason that the controversy over growing industrial hemp in the US boggles my mind.)