NoDak Delegation Says Can't Help With Hemp

When you want to see a change in federal law, to whom should you turn? Well, if you live in North Dakota and are interested in re-authorizing industrial hemp farming (as a majority of North Dakotans favor doing) don’t even think about turning to your elected members of Congress for any help.

According to the Associated Press, the three-member Democratic Congressional delegation from NoDak has no ambition to support their constituents and fight to change drug laws that are currently interpreted by the feds to outlaw the agricultural cultivation of industrial hemp, the non-narcotic cousin of marijuana. Believe it or not, the state’s delegation – Sens. Byron Durgan and Kent Conrad, and Rep. Earl Pomeroy – apparently thinks that if the Drug Enforcement Administration doesn’t like something, then, as freakin’ elected officials, they’re somehow bound to go along in order to get along. Forget the fact that it is Congress – and not the DEA – that is charged with making law. “When the DEA takes this hard line position, there is not the political will in Congress to challenge them,” Pomeroy told the AP (I kid you not). “No one wants to be involved in something that some might perceive as loosening our drug laws.” Well, by all means, if someone, somewhere might disagree with something you think you should do, then, shit, whatever you do, don’t stand up with reason and logic. No, run for cover and let the narcos continue to spread propaganda – hell, I’m certain this is just fine by them!

North Dakota has re-legalized hemp cultivation, enacting strict regulations for licensing farmers to grow the plant – including a requirement that all hemp plants face testing to ensure they contain no more than .3% tetrahydracannibinol, or THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. NoDak farmers David Monson (also a veteran Republican state lawmaker) and Wayne Hauge have been licensed by the state to cultivate the plant, but face the threat of federal prosecution for drug cultivation if they do so without DEA approval. Needless to say, thus far the DEA hasn’t exactly been chomping at the bit to help the farmers out. Thus, the two have sued the DEA for the right to cultivate the plant without government interference.

The first legal round went to the DEA, after a federal judge in Bismarck suggested that the battle to re-introduce hemp to the agricultural landscape should land in Congress, which has the power to write into the Controlled Substances Act the exemption necessary to allow them to cultivate the environmentally friendly plant. That sounds fine and good – and in a world where politicians represent constituents and not bureaucracies that actually might happen. Not so in the current environment – or so it would seem, given the attitude of the NoDak Three. Indeed, although Conrad reportedly told the AP that he’d like to see Congress take up the industrial hemp issue, he said that it “doesn’t matter” what he thinks, since that’s “not going to happen,” the AP reported. “Frankly, we’ve got out hands full getting things done that can be done.” (Like…?) In short, Durgan said, that since the DEA opposes reauthorizing hemp, their Congressional hands are tied.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

industrial hemp, DEA, Dave Monson, Wayne Hauge

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