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Would-be Hemp Growers in Court Today

Attorneys for North Dakota farmers will make oral arguments in Bismarck.

Two North Dakota farmers who want to grow industrial hemp next year go to court today in Bismarck.

Attorneys for David Monson, Osnabrock, and Wayne Hauge, Ray, will argue that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency should allow them to grow industrial hemp because they cannot make an illegal drug from it.

Monson and Hauge received a permit from the state of North Dakota to grow industrial hemp – defined by state law as cannabis with less than 3/10s of 1% of the TCH, the chemical that causes the marijuana high.

But the state permit is contingent upon receiving a certificate from the DEA, which has not yet acted on their application.

DEA filed a motion to dismiss the case. Its attorneys argued that a North Dakota district court has no jurisdiction over the federal agency and that the federal Controlled Substance Act does not make a distinction because marijuana and so-called "industrial hemp."

The farmers' compliant, the DEA attorneys wrote, is " simply a public policy debate about the wisdom of federal regulation of marijuana and a generalized grievance...most appropriately addressed in representative branches [Congress].

If the North Dakota farmers prevail in the case others states will be free to implement hemp farming laws, according to Vote Hemp, a national industrial hemp advocacy group.

Read briefs from both sides at Vote Hemp's Web site,

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