Farmers Try to Plant Hemp at DEA Office, Arrested

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by
Associated Press

Farmers Try to Plant Hemp at DEA Office, Arrested

by
James MacPherson

Hemp fiber. "We still have folks in high places that seem to think hemp and marijuana are the same thing — they aren't," said Roger Johnson, of the National Farmers Union. "We need to get past that."(Image: Compostablegoods.com)

BISMARCK, N.D. — A 51-year-old grandfather who grows garbanzo beans
and other crops in northwestern North Dakota was among the protesters
arrested for planting hemp seeds on the lawn of the federal Drug
Enforcement Administration offices.

Wayne Hauge and five other
people were arrested Tuesday for trespassing and part of a group of
about 20 protesting the ban on growing hemp, said authorities in
Arlington, Va. Hemp, which is used to make paper, lotion and other
products, is related to the illegal drug marijuana.

Proponents argue it contains too little of the mind-altering chemical THC to make people high.

Hauge
and David Monson, a Republican state legislator and farmer from
Osnabrock, received the North Dakota's first state licenses to grow
industrial hemp in 2007, but they've never received approval from the
DEA, which considers hemp a drug. They've sued the DEA, and their case
has been before the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for about a year
after a federal judge in Bismarck dismissed it and told the farmers to
take their case to Congress.

"You might say this is outside of my
normal character, and I don't intend to make it a practice," Hauge said
in a telephone interview, after spending about five hours in jail. "My
interest here was to show that hemp is just a crop. Hemp is not a drug."

The
Hemp Industries Association, which has been lobbying lawmakers on
Capitol Hill to allow the growing of hemp for industrial uses, said
it's the first time the protesters engaged in civil disobedience.

DEA officials did not return telephone calls for comment Tuesday.

David
Bronner, president of Escondido, Calif.-based Dr. Bronner's Magic
Soaps, said his company has used hemp for a decade in its products. The
company imports hemp from Europe and Canada, but Bronner said he would
like to buy it from U.S. farmers.

"With the weak dollar and the
high cost of freight, it's something we should be able to source in the
U.S.," said Bronner, who invited Hauge to Tuesday's demonstration.

Bronner
said he, Hauge and four others dug several holes on the lawn of the DEA
headquarters and planted about 1,000 hemp seeds. Hauge was one of two
farmers arrested. The other was Will Allen of East Thetford, Vt.

"He dug a better hole than anyone," Bronner said of Hauge.

Hauge and Allen's trip was paid for by Vote Hemp, the lobbying arm of the hemp industry.

Hauge,
who lives in Ray, a town of about 500 people, still has 400 acres of
beans to harvest at home. He would like to add hemp to his other crops,
which include lentils, barley and durum, and said he and other hemp
proponents are frustrated by the lack of progress in legalization.

"My interest has been and will always be raising it for a crop, as part of my rotation," said Hauge, who also is an accountant.

National
Farmers Union President Roger Johnson, who pushed for legalizing the
growing of industrial hemp in the U.S. while serving as North Dakota's
agriculture commissioner, said he was surprised by Hauge's arrest.

"Wow,
he didn't strike me as the kind of guy who'd wind up in jail," Johnson
said. "He's a rational kind of guy. He's an accountant, for crying out
loud, and a farmer."

The National Farmers Union has not taken a
position on hemp. But Johnson said he still believes U.S. farmers
should be allowed to plant it.

"We still have folks in high
places that seem to think hemp and marijuana are the same thing — they
aren't," Johnson said. "We need to get past that."

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