01 December 2007

Legal Hemp in North Dakota?

First, for the uninitiated, the hemp plant is different than marijuana. Although both are derived from variations of the Cannabis sativa plant, the subspecies indica is the one that is referred to as marijuana. Hemp (Cannabis sativa subsp. sativa) contains no or very little THC, the compound that gives marijuana is psychotropic properties. The plant differences don't stop there; the hemp plant is taller and easily made into a variety of different products, while the marijuana plant is very short and bushy.

North Dakota is the first and only state to allow commercial hemp production in the country. Hemp production is a growing industry all over the world, while the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) does not allow the production of hemp as it deems all Cannabis sativa as marijuana, despite the distinct differences.

Dave Monson and Wayne Hauge are two farmers from North Dakota who decided to make a good business out of selling industrial hemp. They met all the state's criteria for being a hemp producer such as, unannounced inspections of their fields; provide geo-positioning coordinates to their fields; ensure that they use seed that contains less than .3% THC and pass a background check. The DEA does not seem concerned that was is being cultivated is hemp. To them, it is nothing more than marijuana and a violation of United States Federal law.

According to the DEA, Federal law prohibits the cultivation of the Cannabis sativa plant in all its variations, to include hemp. To them, they are enforcing the law as written, even if the laws were misguided. At the moment, a judge has promised the farmers a decision within the month regarding the situation.

To me, the situation is another gaff by the United States government and their attempt to control and protect the innocent. In their infinite wisdom, they decided that marijuana was a dangerous drug and banned it, but in doing so banned the entire plant species Cannabis sativa, not just the subspecies indica. In doing so, they crippled the hemp industry and it died out giving way to plastics, cotton, burlap, and tree pulp. Now it is going to take Congress to change the law to allow production of this very versatile plant.

I won't list all the uses that it can be good for, but the list contains insulation, paper, hair conditioner and food products. The crop is also very good for farmers as a rotational crop to replenish the ground with nutrients. To read more about hemp and its uses, go to Wikipedia.

I don't see how we cannot begin to cultivate this plant in the United States, as it has tremendous uses and properties. It is old thinking and clouded minds that keep this plant from seeing its true potential in the U.S. Already manufactures here are importing hemp and using it in various products. When is our government going to see that we a losing out?

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