US Marijuana Party

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Federal Judge Calls DEA's Views on Hemp Farming 'Asinine'

ST. LOUIS, Dec. 16 /U.S. Newswire/ -- On Monday, Dec. 12, lawyers Bruce Ellison and David Frankel representing Alex White Plume and his family of the Lakota Nation who live on the Pine Ridge Reservation, made oral arguments in the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in front of a three judge panel to reverse efforts by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to place an injunction preventing the White Plumes from growing industrial hemp. In what has been deemed a sovereignty case that is very uniquely framed, the White Plumes planted industrial hemp on their family land for three seasons only to have it cut down and confiscated by DEA agents.

During the oral arguments it became clear that Judge Kermit Bye and Judge Arlen Beam were focused on two issues: (1) the irrationality of allowing the exempt parts of the plant to be imported into the U.S. but not allowing industrial hemp to be grown in the U.S. and (2) the lack of any rational permitting process by the DEA. While the Government's case was made, Judge Beam commented, "It seems asinine to me that they can bring in the Canadian stuff and use it but can't grow it." Beam also suggested that it did not make sense that Congress would try to make the economy of Native American tribes more enhanced by casino gambling but not allow industrial hemp cultivation.


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