November 24, 2009 – Tim Timmons is not your average pot smoker. The former risk management consultant, college professor and stand-out athlete has never considered himself a hippy or a pothead. Even so, Timmons has been smoking marijuana nearly every day for the past six years. He doesn’t smoke to get high. According to him, he’s just taking his medicine. Timmons is slowly wasting away from Multiple Sclerosis, a painful disease that attacks the nervous system. “I would be considered in one of the final stages of the disease right now,” Timmons said. Diagnosed 22 years ago, the former football player and bull rider is now confined to a wheel chair. He is paralyzed from the waist down and no longer has control over his bladder or bowels. Timmons relies on his wife to help him go to the bathroom, take a bath and get in and out of bed. In addition to losing control of his muscles, Timmons must also live with a great deal of pain and frequent muscle spasms. “The pain is overwhelming, to the extent where you’re in bed the only thing you can do is hold yourself in a fetal position,” said Timmons. Doctors have prescribed him a virtual pharmacy of powerful narcotics to treat the pain and symptoms his disease causes. At one point he was taking as many as 20 different drugs up to four times a day. Timmons never thought to treat his pain with marijuana until a chance encounter with a former high school classmate at their 30th class reunion six years ago. The man offered Timmons a joint and told him it might help ease his pain. Desperate for anything that could relieve the constant pain, Timmons took a toke. “The pain relief was immediate. And I thought, ‘Whoa, what’s the problem with this if it works this well for people that are in pain,’” Timmons said. Not long after that first joint, Timmons began looking for someone to supply him with pot. He did some research on the Internet, which led him to a restaurant where he began asking waiters where he could find some marijuana. By the time he left, he had a bag of weed. Timmons now gets his “medicine” from Mendocino, Calif., an area known for producing some of the highest-quality marijuana in the U.S. He said he spends about $480 a month for one ounce which typically lasts him three to four weeks. While California and 12 other states have legalized marijuana for medicinal use, pot is still illegal in the state of Texas. Timmons is trying to change that. “You think, ‘Well how is it, it can be helping these people in these other states but it won’t help me in Texas?’” Timmons said as he puffed on a pipe filled with marijuana, taking a deep breath of the white smoke, holding it in a few seconds and exhaling with a smile on his face. Timmons accidentally became the face of the movement to legalize medical marijuana in Texas when he spoke at the State Capital in 2007 and urged state lawmakers to pass legislation to protect patients. During that speech, he admitted he was a daily pot smoker and invited police to come arrest him, even giving his home address and phone number so they could easily find him. A video of that speech was put on You Tube and has been viewed thousands of times. Despite his attempts to get arrested, no law enforcement agency has ever taken him up on his offer. Unlike other states that have successfully passed laws legalizing medical marijuana, the focus in Texas is to get lawmakers to pass a bill that gives patients an affirmative defense. Under current law, patients who get caught buying or using marijuana to treat their illnesses can not use that as a defense in court. “You’re barred from mentioning that and how ludicrous is that. That you can’t even tell the jury why you were doing it. You just have to sit there and be silent,” Timmons said. “We are not even trying for medical marijuana in Texas. We’re trying to simply get it to where someone in the position like me would at least be able to offer an affirmative defense to the jury and say, ‘This is why I was breaking the law.’” The first attempt to get medical marijuana legislation passed was in 2001. Every bill that’s been introduced each session since then has died in committee. Timmons believes socially conservative politicians are unwilling to risk their political careers on such a hot button issue, particularly one that has the medical community at odds. For years many doctors and medical organizations have stated pot has no medical benefit. Many of those same doctors and groups, including the American Medical Association, are now changing their attitude when it comes to medicinal uses for marijuana, calling for more serious studies. “I have to believe that there might be some medicinal effects of it, and if science can prove that it can be delivered in a form that isn’t harmful, great,” said Joel Marcus, a Clinical Psychologist at the UT Health Science Center’s Cancer Therapy and Research Center. Marcus is one of a handful of psychologists who are helping cancer patients deal with the effects of living with cancer. He said many of his patients ask him about using marijuana to relieve the nausea and vomiting that come with their radiation treatments. Marcus tells them to stay away. “I can’t in any good conscience recommend something that could be carcinogenic,” Marcus said. “I see far too many patients living with and dying from lung cancer to say go ahead and smoke anything.” Instead Marcus, and many other doctors, offer patients a drug called Marinol which is a synthetically produced version of the main chemical in marijuana that gets you high and relieves pain — that chemical is THC. In fact Marinol is the only legal “medical marijuana” available in the U.S. that is approved by the Federal Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Agency. Still, patients like Timmons said they tried Marinol and found that it doesn’t work as well as real marijuana. Patients said Marinol takes up to three hours to begin working, whereas taking one toke of a joint provides instant relief. Those patients also said marijuana can be ingested into the body without smoking it. In most medical marijuana dispensaries in California, patients can buy baked goods and candy made with pot. Joel Marcus said the jury is still out on the effectiveness of those types of delivery methods for medicinal marijuana but he’s keeping an open mind on the subject. “I’m all in favor of finding out new methods of controlling symptoms,” Marcus said. “We’re all about quality of life and improving quality of life, and if a study of the medicinal properties of marijuana in a butter form or a liquid form or in some other way that isn’t carcinogenic could provide relief for or patients, I’m all for it.” Until science can prove pot is medicine patients like Timmons say they will continue to break the law to get the medicine they need. “If I can break the law as many times as I possibly can to help someone else that’s in a similar situation escape the pain and actually function and become a part of the procession of life, then heck man, I’m all for breaking the law,” he said. Source.

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November 1, 2009-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 votehempseeds 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 hemp’s 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.

I personally do not harbor a grudge nor have an agenda against the DEA, I have the greatest respect for those who serve our country, whether local police or members of the armed services who are now abroad. The DEA is carrying out its Bush-era mandate to not allow cannabis in the United States, just as any soldier given an order by a superior officer and I respect that. It is time, however, to change the order and make the international non-drug standard of 0.3% THC the point at which hemp cultivars of cannabis are under control and regulation by USDA as an agricultural crop.

The ideal immediate policy approach, similar to the recent medical cannabis directive from the Department of Justice (that oversees the DEA) directing DEA and US Attorneys to respect states’ medical cannabis laws, is for the DOJ to simply direct DEA to respect and not interfere with state industrial hemp programs.
Further, Congress should pass legislation allowing cultivation of industrial hemp under state industrial hemp programs. There is a hemp bill currently in the House of Representatives that has not yet been given a committee hearing because it needs more sponsors.

I recently sent a letter to my state’s representative asking why if our state has had such an overwhelming support for cultivation of industrial hemp by both Democrats and Republicans, as well as the Governor of North Dakota, that he has not co-sponsored that hemp farming bill. You too, regardless of the state you live in, should contact your state’s elected representatives to sponsor this hemp farming bill and communicate with the DOJ to change DEA policy.

Only when hemp is no longer deemed an illegal crop, can true R&D be done and American farmers catch up with the rest of the world. Imagine a house either built new or modified with hempcrete that is lighter yet stronger than traditional wood frame construction, or hemp blown-in insulation which resists pests and molds, and a wind generator in the back yard with blades made with hemp fibers, and your daughter who goes to her first school prom wearing a dress made of hemp. All this can be done now, but imagine the possibilities when hemp is free to be studied in universities across the US.

The time is now to change the order to DEA. Nine states have passed legislation supporting cultivation of industrial hemp. The people understand that hemp is simply a crop with great potential. Will hemp be grown on a million acres? Not the first couple years, but other countries are supplying the booming US market.

Do I have regrets for participating as one of the “Hemp Six” in ceremonially seeding hemp on DEA’s front lawn? No, I do not. I will, however, not do it again. Like I told my sons when they were growing up, “do a job right the first time.” A video available at Vote Hemp’s web site (www.VoteHemp.com) shows the action; Vote Hemp represents thousands of citizens, including farmers, businesses and consumers, who support re-commercializing of industrial hemp as a sustainable profitable rotation crop for American farmers. Vote Hemp sponsored my participation in this event and has paid for my legal expenses in the law suit against DEA.

As you sit reading this and nodding your head in general agreement, don’t put off contacting your state’s representatives to have Obama’s Department of Justice order DEA to stand down on actions against seeding industrial hemp in the United States.

(Wayne Hauge is a fourth generation farmer from North Dakota who grows barley, chickpeas, durum and lentils, and someday industrial hemp near Ray.)

Video from February 2008:

October 28, 2009 – BILLINGS, Mont. – Montana this month issued its first license for an industrial hemp-growing operation to a woman who said she wants to develop a domestic market for the plant despite federal law barring its cultivation. votehemp_baner1

Laura Murphy, of Bozeman, was the first to apply for the two-year license since the state Legislature approved hemp’s commercial cultivation in 2001.

Federal law prohibits such activity, but the license issued by the Montana Agriculture Department on Oct. 14 could challenge whether the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is willing to override the state.

Hemp is similar to illegal marijuana but without the mind-altering ingredient of the drug. It is grown in parts of Canada and Europe and has a range of uses, from fibers for clothing to a source of biofuels.

Murphy called the application process “pretty easy.”

“I went in and had a criminal history check and fingerprints and said I had land to grow it on,” she said. “They didn’t have an official license for me; it’s just a letter.”

She said she intends to lease 160 acres of unused ranch land near Ennis and is trying to arrange contracts with buyers.

Murphy, 42, said she is a former dog groomer who works as the office manager for a Bozeman medical marijuana business. She said there would be a separation between that business, which is run by her fiance, and the planned hemp growing operation.

The Obama administration last week loosened guidelines on federal prosecution of medical marijuana operations, which grow potent forms of the plant used to treat Parkinson’s disease, chronic pain, glaucoma and other ailments.

The Justice Department told federal prosecutors that targeting people who use or provide medical marijuana in compliance with state laws was not a good use of their time.

Montana applied to the DEA in 2002 for recognition of the state’s hemp growing law. The request was denied, but Montana Agriculture Department attorney Cort Jensen said it could be reconsidered now that a license has gone out.

“Obviously hemp is a little different than ordinary marijuana, but they have declined in the past,” he said. In the meantime, he added: “We will administer the state law.”

In her license, Murphy was warned by Jensen that “growing hemp is still illegal.”

“You still need to get permission from the Drug Enforcement Agency in order to grow it without facing the possibility of federal charges or property confiscation,” he wrote.

DEA spokesman Mike Turner said federal drug agents will be watching to see if Murphy moves ahead without the federal permit – something she said she has no intention to seek.

“We try to concentrate our investigations on major criminal organizations that traffic drugs. That’s our priority,” Turner said. “We can’t speculate about what’s going to happen until somebody actually does something.”

He said some hemp operations had received clearance to grow after installing fencing and security to prevent public access, but he could not say how many permits have been issued.

Jensen also said that if she wished to use pesticides, Murphy would have to make arrangements through the Agriculture Department since none is currently approved for hemp.

The advocacy group Vote Hemp lists Montana as one of nine states that have removed barriers to hemp production or research.

Angela Goodhope with the Montana Hemp Council said the license given to Murphy marks “a big deal as far as state’s rights go.”

“The wheels are turning to allow our farmers to have another good alternative rotational crop,” Goodhope said. By MATTHEW BROWN. Source.

October 19, 2009 – The Justice Department announced today that federal drug agents will no longer arrest or prosecute people who are legally using, selling or supplying medical marijuana in the states that allow it.

“It will not be a priority to use federal resources to prosecute patients with serious illnesses or their caregivers who are complying with state laws on medical marijuana,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement when he released the new guidelines. But, Mr. Holder said, “we will not tolerate drug traffickers who hide behind claims of compliance with state law to mask activities that are clearly illegal.”

How significant is the change in federal drug policy? What will the new guidelines mean for local and state law enforcement?

A Muddier Federal Role
Picture 29Tom Riley-Tom Riley was associate director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy from 2001 to 2009.

The new policy announced on medical marijuana can be broken down into two parts. The first of these is not really “new” and the second is not really “policy.”

First, Attorney General Holder announced that it would no longer be a “priority” for the federalPicture 31 government to prosecute patients with serious illnesses. But that has never been a priority of federal law enforcement, which has been focused on people engaged in the cultivation and trafficking of significant quantities of illegal drugs. Let’s not be conned here: The average quantity of marijuana that someone is in federal prison for marijuana possession is over 100 lbs.

That is not “personal use,” nor is it Granny getting locked in the slammer for puffing a few joints for “medical” purposes. Leaving aside the wisdom of determining medical policy by ballot measure rather than by science, keeping the federal law enforcement focus on drug trafficking is nothing new — it is a continuation of the Bush and Clinton administration policies.

Second, the memo itself is internally conflicted to the point of incoherence. While ostensibly encouraging prosecutors to defer to state and local laws on marijuana, it also recognizes that federal “interest” can still allow the feds, at their discretion, to step in and prosecute. In fact, federal law remains completely unchanged.

The memo specifically states that the new policy should not be interpreted to mean that medical marijuana has been legalized, and that it does not provide a legal defense against federal prosecution. Moreover, it states that even if an individual scrupulously complies with state laws, they still may be subject to federal prosecution.

The gap between the headlines and the reality can only lead to further confusion. California municipalities are struggling with an explosion of store-front pot shops and grow operations. The new federal “guidelines” make the federal role muddier, and may send a green light to cultivators and traffickers who have been cynically using the “medical” label.

A Victory for Common Sense
Picture 30Richard N. Van Wickler-Richard N. Van Wickler is the Cheshire County superintendent of New Hampshire Department of Corrections and a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

The announcement by the Obama administration to not use limited resources to target states that allow the use of medicinal marijuana, and the citizens who use them, is a significant victory for common sense.

One case in point is California, which has built 21 new penitentiaries in a five-year period. Picture 32
The state should get some relief from the no fewer than 200 raids by federal officers on state-approved medicinal marijuana cooperatives — a significant acknowledgment of compassion for the sick and respect for the autonomy of our individual states. The change shines a new light on the horribly failed drug war.

Citing limited federal resources as a principal reason not to pursue state-approved medicinal marijuana cooperatives is only one of many excellent reasons why our country must change course. Considering that 83 percent of property crimes and as much as 40 percent of violent crimes are unsolved in our country, it seems that what resources we do have could be much better utilized. If preventing crime, reducing disease and addiction rates, and reducing violence and needless death are goals of this administration with respect to the drug war, then an exit strategy is urgently needed on this failed war.

But Is It Effective?
Picture 34Henry I. Miller-Henry I. Miller, a medical doctor, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. He was an official at the Food and Drug Administration from 1979 to 1994.

As an “exercise of investigative and prosecutorial discretion,” in the words of the Department of Justice, this decision is understandable — and even welcome — but it is not altogether satisfactory. Arguably, if marijuana has therapeutic potential, it should be required to pass scientific and regulatory muster like any other medicine.

We have considerable experience with making drugs from the opium poppy, for example, butPicture 33 we don’t authorize patients to smoke opium for medical purposes; rather, we require that opiate products, including morphine for analgesia and paregoric for diarrhea, be standardized and quality-controlled by composition and dose, fully tested, delivered in an appropriate manner, and shown to be safe and effective. Why should marijuana be any different?

A promising and rational alternative to smoked marijuana is a marijuana-derived drug called Sativex, formulated as a mouth spray, which has been approved in Canada for the treatment of neuropathic pain associated with multiple sclerosis and is in advanced clinical trials for muscle spasticity, intractable pain and other uses. Unlike crude marijuana, its purity and potency can be standardized.

Patients who are genuinely in need deserve safe and effective medicines, and rigorous testing and oversight are the best ways to provide them.

Hypocritical Foolishness
Picture 36Joseph McNamara-Joseph D. McNamara, a retired deputy inspector of the New York Police Department and former police chief of San Jose, Calif., is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

I never smoked a cigarette in my life, let alone a reefer. It’s not that I was a puritan. Like the overwhelming majority of my fellow cops, I thought it manly and cool to consume my share of beer and booze.

But as a veteran of more than 30 years in law enforcement, I always thought it hypocritical Picture 35foolishness to bust 700,000 to 800,000 Americans a year for pot, and especially ridiculous to get excited about sick people smoking marijuana because they believed accurately or mistakenly, that it helped ease their pain.

I’m not inclined to enter the endless debates between crusading zealots against marijuana and those who cite contrary evidence that marijuana is a relatively harmless drug. I am convinced, however, that if you must be a heavy drug user, you’re far better off smoking pot than, say, playing the dangerous, insane drinking games common among our high school and college kids, and excessive alcohol consumption by older heavy boozers.

In my mind, the question should focus on the societal costs of arresting someone for using certain substances we disapprove of, and consequently giving them a criminal record that can damage their lives and turn them into career criminals. If Misters Clinton, Bush, or Obama, and countless other successful people had been busted for their youthful flirtation with drugs most would have been stigmatized and suffered irreparable career harm. The learning moment here is that there is a terrible human cost to arresting someone, which must be balanced against the harm it supposedly prevents.

Additional costs of the violence, corruption, and other crimes associated with prohibition never seem to be included in estimated costs of drug war policies. For example, the use of scarce police, court, and correctional resources, and the disproportional mischief that aggressive arrest tactics impose on minorities tilt the already out of balance price tag for our irrational policy of unnecessarily criminalizing widespread conduct. Why is a free society so terrified of trusting adults to make responsible decisions?

Source.

October 13, 2009 – You want to dig a garden, you need a shovel. You want to dig a guerrillaPicture 9 garden of illegal hemp on the front lawn of Drug Enforcement Administration headquarters and get arrested for the cameras, you need a symbol.

Shortly before they all were happily handcuffed Tuesday, the farmers took one look at what the activists had brought to dig with, and just shook their heads.

The symbolic shovels were shiny, chrome-plated affairs, the kind for turning the earth in a Washington photo op, stamped with slogans: “Reefer Madness Will Be Buried.” When the shovel blades were experimentally pressed into the mulch outside the group’s hotel, they bent like toys.

“You’ll have a real hard time getting through the grass,” observed Wayne Hauge, 51, a North Dakota farmer whose previous interactions with police amount to a ticket for driving an overloaded truck of lentils. “Not exactly the divot I was thinking of.”

But never mind.
Picture 7
Time to leave for the demonstration, the protest, the blow against the empire of DEA regulations.

They piled into a 1985 Mercedes-Benz painted the color of a Granny Smith apple. Its diesel engine had been converted to run on waste cooking oil supplied for free by a restaurant in Columbia Heights. For the adventure, Adam Eidinger, communications director for the advocacy group Vote Hemp and owner of the Mercedes, spiked the cooking grease with waste hemp oil. He was wearing pants, shirt, socks and shoes all made from hemp.

The hemp mobile purred over the Potomac River on the road to Arlington.

Farmers and activists say that industrial hemp, as they call it, will not get you high. It has minuscule levels of THC compared with marijuana. But unlike governments in Canada, Europe and China, the DEA will not allow it to be cultivated in the United States, much less on its own front lawn across from the Pentagon City mall. So the expanding industry, estimated at $360 million annually by advocates, is based on imports.
Picture 6
Hauge has been certified to grow hemp by North Dakota. He thinks the crop will help his fourth-generation family farm thrive. He has a federal case on appeal to force the DEA to yield to the state law.

Also in the car was Will Allen, 73, an organic sunflower and canola farmer from East Thetford, Vt. He has been arrested for protesting the Iraq war, he said. He wants to add organic hemp in rotation with his other crops.

The other passenger, tall and lanky in a pinstripe suit with Alcatraz cuff links, was not a farmer. He was David Bronner, 36, president of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps in Escondido, Calif.

Dr. Bronner’s! That iconically groovy peppermint liquid lather once was practically prescribed for all kids backpacking from Carmel to Katmandu. It was said to be excellent for washing everything from your face to your jeans to your dishes. David is the grandson of the late Emil Bronner, the original soap-meister. The grandfather wasn’t really a doctor, but who was going argue with a guy who loaded his soap bottle labels with tiny script imparting heavy philosophical musings about the “All-One”?
Picture 10
Bronner’s ponytailed presence on this mission was like the totemic blessing of a previous counterculture upon a new counterculture. Whereas the earlier counterculture was associated mostly with the kind of cannabis that you smoke, the new one has taken up the cause of the kind of cannabis that can go into food, textiles, particle board, automobile panels, biofuel. It’s a throwback to the old days, when George Washington grew hemp and the USS Constitution was outfitted with 60 tons of hempen rigging.

And soap?

Hemp, it turns out, has to do with so, so much.

“It gave the lather an additional smoothness,” said Bronner, who put hemp oil in the recipe 10 years ago.

The DEA referred questions about hemp and the protest to the Justice Department, and Justice referred a reporter to its brief in Hauge’s case. The government says it is simply enforcing federal drug laws, which do not distinguish among types of the species cannabis sativa. Hauge and another plaintiff lost at the lower federal court level; a ruling on the appeal is pending.

Meanwhile, a handful of state legislatures has approved industrial hemp farming — but awaits DEA action — and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture has endorsed it.

There was a final huddle on the sidewalk near the DEA building. Besides the six with shovels who planned to be arrested, 15 other supporters came with signs and cameras. They passed around the number of a lawyer to call from jail. Hauge started writing it on a card.

No, said an experienced activist dressed in black. “Write it on your skin.”

They chose a patch of lush grass outside the entrance to the DEA Museum in Pentagon City. Sure enough, the shiny shovels bent like toys. The protesters bent them back into shape. The farmers showed the others how to dig small trenches. “One to 1 1/2 inches in moderately moist soil,” Hauge had advised earlier.

The seeds were packets of hemp crunch — toasted hemp seeds imported from Canada, a nutritious snack. Thousands went into the ground.

Private security guards and DEA employees gathered around the gardeners, puzzled.

“Do you have a permit?” asked security contractor David Smith.

“That’s what we want is a permit from the DEA,” said Bronner.

Smith chuckled at their bendy shovels. “Keep digging, fellas,” he said, not unkindly. “You’ll be going to jail in a minute.”

A DEA guy who wouldn’t give his name got on his cellphone to a colleague: “They are digging up the grass and planting hemp seeds.”

Arlington police officers gave two warnings and moved in. Hauge walked calmly in handcuffs to a squad car escorted by an officer who was sucking on a lollipop. All six were charged with trespassing and have hearings this week. Then Hauge has 400 acres of chickpeas to harvest back in North Dakota.

Inside the DEA Museum was a display of hemp products that could have come straight from the Hemp Pavilion at the Green Festival last weekend in the Washington Convention Center.

“In the 1600s hemp landed in the Americas where it was used to make rope, clothing, paper,” the uncritical DEA exhibit said. “Today hemp fibers are used in clothing and jewelry.”

The protesters couldn’t have said it better.

The six useless shovels were piled in a carton. Would they go on display? “I don’t think so,” said a DEA officer. “Evidence.” He took pictures of the seeds scattered in the grass.

As for the garden — no hemp will grow there. The toasting process to render the seeds tasty before importation also makes them inert, as required by law. Nobody was about to risk heavy drug-smuggling charges. The symbol was the thing.

Watch the video:

By David Montgomery. Source.

October 13, 2009 – A group of civilly-disobedient hemp farmers and business leaders were arrested this morning while digging up the lawn to plant industrial hemp seeds at the headquarters of the Drug DSCN2960Enforcement Administration.

David Bronner, the president of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, a more than 60-year-old company that does tens of millions of dollars of business annually, was among those arrested.

Bronner buys the hemp used in his soaps from Canadian farmers. He was arrested outside the DEA museum, which shares space with the headquarters.

“Our kids are going to come to this museum and say, ‘My God. Your generation was crazy. What the hell is wrong with you people?'” he said as Arlington County Police handcuffed him and walked him to a waiting car.

The group was arrested for trespassing.

A DEA spokeswoman referred comment to the Department of Justice “because they’re the people who set the policy for drugs.” A DOJ spokeswoman declined to comment.

Hemp, however, is not a drug and has no capacity to get someone stoned, the farmers pointed out. Wayne Hauge and Will Allen, farmers from North Dakota and Vermont respectively, brought shovels and seeds to the protest, where they were joined by representatives of Vote Hemp, which advocates for federal legislation that would allow states to craft their own hemp policies.

Currently eight states — Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia — allow industrial hemp production or research, but federal law, which requires nearly-impossible-to-obtain-permits to grow hemp, trumps those state laws. A bill introduced by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) would allow states to craft their own policies.
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Isaac Nichelson, head of LiViTY Outernatioanl, a hemp clothing company, was also planting seeds, telling the officers and a handful of reporters that he’d rather buy his raw material domestically than from China.

“Who’s got a permit?” asked David Smith, DEA security supervisor, when he spotted the collection of farmers volunteering their agricultural services to his agency.

“As far as I know, we applied for the permit a long time ago,” Nichelson told him.

The farmers asked the next DEA official to arrive if he knew the difference between hemp and marijuana.

He wasn’t sure. “It’s a cousin, right? Or is it an uncle?”

Hauge is one of two farmers licensed by the state of North Dakota to grow hemp, but he can’t do so because of the federal ban. Mother Nature is apparently unaware of the federal restriction: Hemp grows wild through the United States.

President Reagan invested significant resources going after hemp, uprooting millions of plants of what it calls “ditchweed.” Reagan’s effort against ditchweed steadily increased and by 1989 the DEA was able to claim it had uprooted 120 million ditchweed plants. By 2001, that number reached half a billion.

The farmers argued that Instead of uprooting hemp, the government should allow American farmers to grow it, especially since American companies can already legally sell hemp products. “We’ve got a billion dollar industry we’re sleeping on,” said Hauge, who is suing the DEA for the right to raise hemp.

Hauge traces his interest in growing hemp back to the founding fathers, and one particularly famous hemp farmer. “The DEA would have arrested George Washington,” he said.

Source.

October 13, 2009 – Washington D.C. – Farmers, Hemp Industry Leaders Arrested for Planting Industrial photo1-1Hemp at DEA Headquarters in Act of Civil Disobedience to Protest ‘Reefer Madness’

At approximately 10 a.m. this morning, North Dakota farmer Wayne Hauge, Vermont farmer Will Allen, and fed up American entrepreneurs, who have dedicated their livelihoods to developing and marketing healthy, environmentally-friendly hemp products, for the first time turned to public civil disobedience with the planting of industrial hemp seed at DEA headquarters (700 Army Navy Dr Arlington, VA 22202) to protest the ban on hemp farming in the United States. Even though the U.S. is the largest market for hemp products in the world, and industrial hemp is farmed throughout Europe, Asia and Canada, not a single American farmer has the right to grow the versatile crop which is used for food, clothing, body care, paper, building materials, auto paneling and more.

Hoping to focus the attention of the Obama Administration on halting DEA interference, North Dakota Farmer Wayne Hauge; Founder of Cedar Circle Organic Farm in Vermont Will Allen; Hemp Industries Association (HIA) President Steve Levine; Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps President David Bronner; Vote Hemp Communications Director Adam Eidinger and Founder of Livity Outernational Hemp Clothing, Issac Nichelson were arrested while digging up the DEA’s lawn to plant industrial hemp seed imported from Canada. At this time, they are currently being held in Arlington County jail and are awaiting charges. They are expected to be released later this afternoon and will be available for interviews upon release. The six protesters planted hemp seeds with ceremonial chrome shovels engraved with:

Hemp Planting Oct. 2009 ~ DEA Headquarters ~ American Farmers Shall Grow Hemp Again

Reefer Madness Will Be Buried

Mr. Hauge is licensed by North Dakota to cultivate and process non-drug industrial hemp, just as Canadian farmers across the border have done profitably for over ten years supplying the booming U.S. market. However, the DEA refuses to distinguish non-drug industrial hemp cultivars grown for millennia for seed and fiber and has unconstitutionally blocked all state hemp programs such as North Dakota’s. Mr. Hauge, along with North Dakota State Rep. David Monson, sued the DEA in the U.S. District Court of North Dakota in 2007, and the case is currently before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. “In recent years there has been strong growth in demand for hemp in the U.S., but the American farmer is being left out while Canadian, European and Chinese farmers fill the void created by outdated federal policy,” said fourth-generation farmer Hauge. “When hemp is legalized, land grant universities across the nation will develop cultivars suitable to different growing regions to enhance yield and explore innovative uses such as cellulosic ethanol.”

Pictures and video of the action for free and unrestricted use, along with hemp farming footage and background information are available upon request in hardcopy and online. An HIA produced video of the action will also be posted, after 6 p.m. on 10/13 at: http://www.votehemp.com/DEAhempplanting.html

In the back drop of the spectacle at DEA headquarters, dozens of hemp business owners in town attending the HIA convention over the weekend fanned out across Capitol Hill to lobby lawmakers in support of hemp legislation introduced by Representatives Ron Paul (R-TX) and Barney Frank (D-MA) that would permit states to cultivate non-drug industrial hemp under state industrial hemp programs. Nine states have such programs, but their implementation has been blocked by DEA bureaucratic intransigence. This spring, however, President Obama instructed federal agencies to respect state laws in a presidential directive on federal pre-emption:

“Executive departments and agencies should be mindful that in our federal system, the citizens of the several States have distinctive circumstances and values, and that in many instances it is appropriate for them to apply to themselves rules and principles that reflect these circumstances and values. As Justice Brandeis explained more than 70 years ago, ‘it is one of the happy incidents of the federal system that a single courageous state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.'”

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Vote Hemp and the HIA are dedicated to a free market for low-THC industrial hemp and to changes in current policy to allow U.S. farmers to once again grow this agricultural crop. Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps President and Vote Hemp Director David Bronner stated: “Dr. Bronner’s has grown into the leading natural soap brand in the U.S. since incorporating hemp oil in 1999, due in significant part to the unsurpassed smoothness it gives our soaps. As an American business, we want to give our money to American farmers and save on import and freight costs. In this difficult economy, we can no longer indulge the DEA’s self-serving hemp hysteria.”

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