My blog is dedicated to the exploration of industrial hemp in America including the rich history of all forms of cannabis, the evolving law and politics of hemp and marijuana, the many products made from cannabis and the capacity, real or imagined, of hemp to re-industrialize rural America and revitalize the American family farm.
Friday, April 7, 2017
Why Is the DEA Messing with the American Hemp Market?
Hemp is legal to import into the U.S., and you can legally make hemp into products which you can then sell, like rope, soap, clothes and food. But for many years, you could not legally grow hemp, despite wild stands of the stuff growing in ditches through the Midwest, and store shelves full of hemp products.
The DEA’s mutable approach to hemp is also rankling at least one top Republican lawmaker. As MassRoots’s Tom Angell reported, U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, the chairman of the influential House Judiciary Committee, took Acting DEA Chief Chuck Rosenberg behind the woodshed in a contentious Capitol Hill hearing on Tuesday for running what amounts to a clown show with no punchline.
“Are you looking to harass hemp farmers?” he asked Rosenberg, who insisted that DEA agents only intervened with hemp farming when it violated the farm bill, which allows for hemp to be grown for “research” and pilot programs. (And MassRoots pointed out, the Kentucky seed seizure demonstrates this is not true.) The congressman was not impressed. “There should be an easier path for people with a product that is commercially viable for a lot of purposes,” Goodlatte said.
Meanwhile, hemp farmers in North Carolina are so irritated with the DEA’s erraticism that the state’s official hemp-growing commission is considering joining in a lawsuit filed against the agency.
“We cannot let this stand as an industry,” said Bob Crumley, president of Founder’s Hemp, the first company in the state to be approved to grow hemp legally (and a nice idea at the time it was), according to the News & Observer. “If we let what the DEA is currently doing stand, we need to fold our tents and give everybody their money back.”
So far, 22 hemp farmers have received official permission from the state to start growing hemp. And there are at least 50 more farmers who want to start growing hemp in North Carolina, according to the newspaper.
However, six of the 22 now have their applications on hold—since they planned to buy American hemp seed, which the DEA may not allow. Thus far, only the 16 who planned to import their source material have been cleared to grow.
It’s not clear whether Congress or the courts will act first, but something has to give. Look at the times we live in. We’re no jingoistic nationalists, but even we can recognize that discouraging American products in the age of Trump is a bad idea.
“To say that a Canadian farmer has more rights in this market than a farmer from North Carolina or Kentucky does—it’s ridiculous,” Crumley told the newspaper. “It’s abhorrent.”
Acting DEA Chief Chuck Rosenberg
Rosenberg drew media attention in November 2015 after telling reporters that medical marijuana is "a joke" and not medicinal. The same month he also said, "there is something to" the idea of a "Ferguson effect," that an increase in crime was the result of the public filming the police.Following these comments, an ongoing petition has been created to remove Rosenberg as head of Drug Enforcement Administration. The petition "Fire DEA Head Chuck Rosenberg for Calling Medical Marijuana a 'Joke' " has garnered over 159,000 supporters on Change.org