By Steve Elliott
In an epochal shift likely to change the face of American society forever, the federal Department of Justice on Thursday will tell U.S. Attorneys not to prevent Native American tribes from growing or selling marijuana on their sovereign lands, even in states where cannabis is illegal.
The new memorandum will offer guidance which will be implemented on a case-by-case basis, according to U.S. Attorney Timothy Purdon of North Dakota, chairman of the Attorney General's Subcommittee on Native American Issues, reports Timothy M. Phelps at the Los Angeles Times.
Tribes must still follow the eight guidelines or "areas of concern" offered by the federal government after Colorado and Washington voters chose to legalize marijuana in the 2012 elections. The federal guidelines will also apply in Oregon and Alaska, where voters chose to join the ranks of legal states in 2014.
While it is still unknown just how many reservations will take advantage of the new policy, it seems likely that many will, judging by the proliferation of tribal casinos. Many tribes, however, remain opposed to legalizing marijuana on their lands, and federal officials will continue to enforce the law in those areas, if requested.
By NECN.com, Staff
BISMARCK, N.D. — Secretary of State Al Jaeger has approved a ballot measure that would allow people to use marijuana legally in North Dakota for medical reasons.
Jaeger's action means supporters of medical marijuana may begin gathering signatures to put the issue on the ballot.
They'll need at least 13,452 names to qualify for a vote. The signatures will need to be turned in by midnight Aug. 8 to get on the November ballot.
If medical marijuana supporters miss the August deadline, they'll have until June 2013 to collect the required number of signatures.
The measure would allow people with glaucoma, cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder and other medical conditions to use marijuana legally if a doctor recommended it.
The state Health Department would be in charge of licensing the medical marijuana business.
ND governmental leaders get the brush-off from the U.S. Justice Department
By SUE ROESLER, Farm & Ranch Guide
North Dakota government leaders and producers aren't giving up on growing industrial hemp.
Another appeal of a lawsuit decision regarding the right of farmers with state licenses to grow industrial hemp without worrying about the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) arresting them was filed last week.
Two North Dakota farmers, State Rep. David Monson and Wayne Hauge, appealed a 2007 industrial hemp lawsuit decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia Circuit last week.
While North Dakota producers can purchase state licenses to grow industrial hemp, the DEA continues to ignore their requests for a federal registration - even after a district court judge called the agency out on it.
In 2007, U.S. District Judge Dan Hovland said he had to dismiss the farmers' lawsuit against the DEA because of federal law that lumped industrial hemp together with marijuana under the controlled substances act.
However, he chided the DEA for not responding to the farmers' and other agencies' requests.
At that time, Hovland said “there is no realistic prospect the plaintiffs (Monson and Hauge) will ever be issued a license by the DEA to grow industrial hemp.”
He called the DEA's action an “unreasonable delay.”
By Associated Press
A Republican state legislator and farmer from northeastern North Dakota who wants to grow hemp is asking another federal appeals court to review his case.
David Monson from Osnabrock filed a petition for review on Monday in a federal appeals court in the District of Columbia. Monson and Wayne Hauge, a farmer from Ray in northwestern North Dakota, received the first state licenses to grow industrial hemp in 2007, but they`ve never received approval from the Drug Enforcement Administration, which considers hemp a drug.
The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in December affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit filed against the U.S government by the two North Dakota farmers.
From Drug War Chronicle, Issue #614, 12/29/09
The 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis last Tuesday upheld a lower court's decision to dismiss a lawsuit by a pair of North Dakota hemp farmers who argued they should be able to grow hemp crops without fear of federal prosecution.
Farmers Wayne Hauge and David Monson, who is also a Republican state representative, were awarded licenses from the state department of agriculture to grow hemp three years ago. They sought approval from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and after the DEA failed to respond, they filed suit in US District Court in Bismarck. There, US District Judge Daniel Hovland dismissed their suit.
The DEA considers hemp to be marijuana. It took a successful federal court challenge to force the DEA to continue to allow for hemp food products to be imported, but American farmers are still forced to stand on the sidelines and watch as their Canadian, Chinese, and European counterparts fill their wallets with profit from hemp sales.
"I guess the next step is we'll have to take it to Congress," Hauge told the Associated Press. "The fastest and easiest way to handle this would be for the president to order the Department of Justice to stand down on all actions against industrial hemp," he added, alluding wistfully to the department's announced policy shift on medical marijuana.
A federal appeals court Tuesday affirmed a lower court’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit by two North Dakota farmers who said they should be allowed to grow industrial hemp without fear of federal criminal prosecution.
By James MacPherson, Associated Press
BISMARCK — A federal appeals court Tuesday affirmed a lower court’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit by two North Dakota farmers who said they should be allowed to grow industrial hemp without fear of federal criminal prosecution.
Wayne Hauge and David Monson received North Dakota’s first state licenses to grow industrial hemp nearly three years ago, but they’ve never received approval from the Drug Enforcement Administration. The farmers sued the DEA, and their case has been before the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for more than a year after U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland dismissed it.
Hemp, which is used to make paper, lotion and other products, is related to the illegal drug marijuana. Under federal law, parts of an industrial hemp plant are considered controlled substances.
Hovland told the farmers the best remedy might be to ask Congress to change the law to explicitly distinguish hemp from marijuana.
By Wayne Hauge, American Citizen
I am a fourth generation farmer, grandfather of three, and have never been arrested for anything. I traveled to Washington, D.C. to join hemp business leaders in a symbolic planting of hemp seeds on DEA headquarters' front lawn. This action was taken to raise awareness of the distinction between industrial hemp and marijuana. Today non-dairy milks, protein powders, cereals, soaps and lotions are made from the nutritious omega 3 rich hemp seed, while everything from clothing to building materials to automobile paneling is made from the fiber and woody core.
Along with another North Dakota farmer and state Rep. David Monson, I am involved in a lawsuit against DEA, now in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, to prevent DEA interference with licensed North Dakota farmers cultivating and processing industrial hemp under North Dakota's state industrial hemp program. However, it has been almost a year since the case was given to the judges to decide if states can act without federal government intervention.
Will U.S. farmers one day be able to grow industrial hemp?
North Dakota and Montana are two of nine states that have approved legislation allowing industrial hemp farming or its research. Minnesota is among 28 states that have introduced legislation at some point to allow farmers to grow hemp.
In Minnesota, researchers are looking at developing a totally THC-free hemp plant. University of Minnesota researchers have identified the genes that produce THC, the psycho-active substance in marijuana, a distant cousin of hemp.
Even though industrial hemp cannot get anyone high, these researchers are studying the genes to help produce a more acceptable hemp plant for producers to grow. It could also lead to new and better drugs for pain, nausea and other conditions.
North Dakota was the first state to ever pass industrial hemp farming legislation, the first state to regulate industrial farming, the first state to issue licenses, and the first state to approve growing industrial hemp varieties at its land grant university for eventual use by state farmers.
Farmers in the Upper Plains are in a unique position to grow industrial hemp as it is a cooler season type crop and it has been grown successfully right across the northern border in Canada.
By Sue Roesler, Farm & Ranch Guide
North Dakota State University needs to find another sponsor before it can build a security facility to proceed with its hemp seed research.
Half of the funding requested for the security system was approved May 14 at the North Dakota Agricultural Products Utilization Commission (APUC) quarterly meeting in Bismarck, N.D.
NDSU asked for $80,000 and received $40,000 from the commission.
Earlier, D.C. Coston, vice-president for Agriculture and University Extension at NDSU, estimated the cost of the facility at around $80,000 to $90,000 to meet the Drug Enforcement Administration requirements.
John Schneider, executive director of APUC, said the commission felt the other half should be raised as a matching grant.
This is the third time NDSU has requested funds to build a security facility to begin hemp research. It was fully approved in 2003, but NDSU continued to request extensions because it had not received a memorandum of understanding from DEA, Schneider said.
“We don't want funds out there not being used when other projects could be using them,” he said. Finally, the funds were returned.
NDSU again requested funds last year but didn't have the memorandum in place so it was turned down by the commission, Schneider said.
By CHUCK HAGA MinnPost.com
GRAND FORKS, N.D. – David Monson has heard all the jokes from bemused neighbors.
"Is your farm going to pot, Dave?"
"Hey, Dave, how's your weed control?"
A wheat, barley and canola grower from Osnabrock, N.D., hard on the Canadian border, Monson is one of two North Dakota farmers trying to sue the federal government into relaxing drug-war restrictions on the cultivation of industrial hemp, a relative of marijuana.
A federal district judge in North Dakota tossed their lawsuit, but an attorney for Monson and Wayne Hauge told a panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, meeting in St. Paul Nov. 12, that the farmers should be allowed to use state-issued permits to produce hemp seed and oil without fear of federal prosecution under the Controlled Substances Act.
The appeals panel also heard from a Justice Department attorney, who said Congress has the authority to regulate the crop and has decided its cultivation should be restricted.
Getting ready for a new job
Monson wasn't in court Wednesday. He was in Bismarck, getting hired for a new job. In January, he'll become Speaker of the North Dakota House of Representatives, where for several sessions he has been assistant Republican majority leader.
No, this is no pot-smoking hippie trying to sneak something past the narcs.
By Donna Leinwand, USA TODAY
Two North Dakota farmers will ask a federal appeals court in St. Paul on Wednesday to allow them to grow hemp on their farms, even though the federal government says it's illegal.
Farmer Dave Monson, a Republican representative in the North Dakota Legislature, says the variety of the cannabis sativa plant grown as hemp is an ideal crop to rotate annually with wheat and barley.
Canadian farmers 20 miles north of his Osnabrock farm do a brisk business selling their hemp to Detroit carmakers who use it inside door panels and for insulation in seats, he says.
Monson says the hemp has no value as a drug because it has a low concentration of THC, the ingredient in marijuana that causes a high.
Hemp fibers, oil and seed can be imported from Canada, Europe and Asia and used to manufacture products in the USA, but growing hemp in the USA is illegal, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says.
"The level of THC in the plant doesn't matter. If there's any THC in the plant, it's illegal," DEA spokesman Garrison Courtney says. "To get those pieces of stalk that are legal, you have to grow a marijuana plant."
David Bronner, president of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps in Escondido, Calif., says he spends more than $100,000 a year to import hemp oil from Canada for his soaps, lip balms and lotions.