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Last updated 4:43PM ET
June 6, 2020
Prairie Region News
Prairie Region News
Hemp suit heard in federal court
(Prairie Public) - Two North Dakota farmers who are suing the federal government over the right to grow industrial hemp say the crop has huge potential, and the government is holding it back.

Dave Monson says every week he gets a call from someone wanting to buy hemp fiber or seed. He says the callers don't understand that he and farmer Wayne Hauge haven't even planted a crop yet, because they're still fighting the government. The farmers say that under state regulations they have the right to grow industrial hemp, which can be used in a variety of products. The Justice Department says federal law prohibits commercial cultivation of hemp, which is a cousin of marijuana.

"The Controlled Substances Act -- which defines marijuana, specifically excludes non-viable seeds, the oil made from those seeds, along with husk and other sorts of things," said Bismarck attorney Tim Purdon, who represents the two farmers. "It is our position that in doing so, Congress meant to protect the legitimate hemp industry, which is what these two fellas want to be a part of."

n 1999, NDSU applied to DEA for a permit to grow industrial hemp. That issue is still pending. And Monson says it appears DEA is just playing a "waiting game."

"Obviously, this is a one year license," said Monson. "And it's not a cheap license. All they have to do is wait us out, for five, six months, until June first without acting on it, and it's a de facto denial of our license. At that rate, we will never be able to get a license from DEA."

The farmers want federal Judge Dan Hovland to rule in their favor -- while the government wants the case dismissed. Hovland is promising a ruling on the dismissal motion by the end of November.
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