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Last updated 7:49PM ET
June 19, 2021
Prairie Region News
Prairie Region News
Industrial hemp dispute goes to federal court
(Prairie Public) - Two North Dakota farmers have filed suit in Federal Court in Bismarck over licenses to grow industrial hemp.

Industrial hemp is a cousin of marijuana -- and it's used in a number of products.

The Federal Drug Enforcement Administration has refused to to allow states to grow the crop. The suit says North Dakota has declared hemp to be a legal crop -- and the DEA should not be allowed to arrest farmers who grow it.

"It's necessary, in order to protect these two farmers, that we go into court, and we get an order from the court saying that this practice does not violate the federal Controlled Substances Act, is not marijuana, and these two farmers can not be charged with a crime for doing that," said Bismarck attorney Tim Purdon, who is representing both farmers.

One of the farmers is state Representative David Monson of Osnabrock. He says neighboring farmers in Canada grow the crop -- and make good money on it. Monson first started introducing hemp legislation in 1997.

"I've kind of run out of patience," said Monson. "After ten years of trying to work with them, passing all the legislation we can possibly pass, I've come to the conclusion that the only way we're going to get any further progess is to take this step."

Purdon says DEA has sixty days to respond to the lawsuit. The national group "Vote Hemp" is footing the legal bill.
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