Crop Fungus Has North Dakota Longing for Hemp 

Crop Fungus Has North Dakota Longing for Hemp 
Posted by CN Staff on July 20, 2007 at 18:37:47 PT
By Monica Davey
Source: New York Times 
Osnabrock, N.D. — David C. Monson seems an improbable soul to find at the leading edge of a national movement to legalize growing hemp, a plant that shares a species name, a genus type, and, in many circles, a reputation, with marijuana. As Mr. Monson rolls past his wheat, barley and shimmering yellow fields of canola, he listens to Rush Limbaugh in his tractor. When he is not farming, he is the high school principal in nearby Edinburg, population 252. When he is not teaching, he is a Republican representative in Bismarck, where his party dominates both houses of the legislature and the governor is Republican.
“Look at me — do I look shady?” Mr. Monson, 56, asked, as he stood in work boots and a ball cap in the rocky, black dirt that spans mile after mile of North Dakota’s nearly empty northern edge. “This is not any subversive thing like trying to legalize marijuana or whatever. This is just practical agriculture. We’re desperate for something that can make us some money.”The rocks, the dirt, the cool, wet climate and a devastating crop fungus known as scab are part of what has landed North Dakota, of all states, at the forefront of a political battle more likely to have emerged somewhere “a little more rebellious,” as one farmer here put it, like California or Massachusetts. Though federal authorities ban the growing of hemp, saying it contains tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive substance better known as THC in marijuana, six states this year considered legislation to allow farmers to grow industrial hemp, and Representative Ron Paul, Republican of Texas, introduced a bill in Washington that would let states allow such crops. In state houses, the advocates of hemp note that it contains mere traces of THC, and that hemp (grown in other countries) is already found here in clothes, lotions, snack bars, car door panels, insulation and more.But no place has challenged the government as fiercely as North Dakota. The state has passed a bill allowing farmers to grow industrial hemp, created an official licensing process to fingerprint such farmers and a global positioning system to track their fields. This year, Mr. Monson and another North Dakota farmer, with the support of the state’s agriculture commissioner, applied to the Drug Enforcement Administration for permission to plant fields of hemp immediately. “North Dakota is really pushing the envelope on this one,” said Doug Farquhar, the program director for agriculture and rural development at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Montana, West Virginia and Maine and other states have passed bills allowing farmers to grow industrial hemp, said Alexis Baden-Mayer, the director of government relations for Vote Hemp, a group that presses for legalization, but those laws are mainly symbolic given federal drug law. The Controlled Substances Act, federal authorities say, is unambiguous. “Basically hemp is considered the same as marijuana,” said Steve Robertson, a special agent for the D.E.A. at its Washington headquarters. “We’re an enforcement agency. We’re sworn to uphold the law.”In the wide-open spaces of this state, an independent streak often runs through the politics, especially when it comes to federal mandates. But the fight over hemp is not political or philosophical, people here say. It lacks any counterculture wink, any hint of the fear some hemp opponents express that those trying to legalize hemp secretly hope to open the door to the plant’s more potent cousin.This battle is decidedly, and Midwesternly, pragmatic: In 1993, scab — a fungus also known as Fusarium head blight — tore through this region, wiping out thousands of acres of wheat, one of the prized crops in North Dakota, where agriculture remains the largest element of the economy. Hard rains left water pooling in fields, giving the scab an opening. It has turned up in varying degrees ever since, even as farmers searched for a cure. On a recent afternoon, as rain pounded his 710 acres, Mr. Monson gloomily yanked the head off a stalk of his wheat, revealing for a visitor whitish, shriveled seeds — the telltale signs of scab.When Mr. Monson began his efforts in the late 1990s, some here balked. He remembered John Dorso, a former Republican leader, rolling his eyes and asking Mr. Monson if he knew what he was getting mixed up in.But hemp, Mr. Monson argued, offered an alternative for North Dakota’s crop rotation. Its tall stalks survive similarly cool and wet conditions in Canada, just 25 miles north of here, where it is legal. And it suits the rocky soil left behind here by glaciers — soil that threatens to tear up farm equipment for anyone who dares to plant crops like beets or potatoes beneath ground.Years and studies and hearings later, few here have much to say against hemp — a reflection, it seems, of the state’s urgent wish to improve its economy. Recent hemp votes have passed the legislature with ease, though some questions linger. How big a market would there really be for hemp? What about the worries of drug enforcement officials, who say someone might sneak into a farmer’s field of harmless hemp and plant a batch of (similar-looking) marijuana?Such fears, Mr. Monson insisted, are silly in North Dakota, which is the 48th most-populous state, with fewer than 640,000 people. This is the only state where voter registration is not required. (Everyone would know, the logic goes, if someone who did not belong tried to vote.) “You can’t go down to get the mail around here without someone knowing,” Mr. Monson said.But Blair Thoreson, a Republican state representative who has voted against hemp measures, is less sure. “Everyone here knows everyone,” Mr. Thoreson said, “and yet we’ve had a huge problem here with homegrown methamphetamine labs, too.”Roger Johnson, the state’s agriculture commissioner, said hemp fields would be the worst places to hide marijuana. Under state rules, he said, such fields must be accessible for unannounced searches, day or night, and crops would be tested by the state. Also, he said, a field of hemp and marijuana would cross pollinate, leaving the drug less potent.“We’re not wide-eyed liberals,” Mr. Johnson said. “The D.E.A., they’re the crazy ones on this. This sort of illogical, indefensible position is not going to prevail forever.”After receiving the first state licenses to grow hemp this year, Mr. Monson and Wayne Hauge, a farmer from Ray, filed applications with the D.E.A. in February. Since then, the drug agency has not said yes or no. Given North Dakota’s growing season, it is too late to plant anything new this year. So in June, the two men— with financial help from Vote Hemp, the advocacy group — filed a lawsuit against the agency. This month, Mr. Robertson said the agency was still reviewing the applications, but that he could not say much beyond that because of the litigation.Like Mr. Monson, Mr. Hauge, who is 49 and farms barley, chickpeas and lentils on land his great-grandfather homesteaded in 1903, said his efforts are about economics, not politics — or drugs.“I don’t advocate smoking anything,” said Mr. Hauge, who, when he is not farming, is a certified public accountant.“I guess I’m not really known as much of a joker,” he added. Newshawk: GreenmedSource: New York Times (NY)Author: Monica DaveyPublished: July 20, 2007Copyright: 2007 The New York Times CompanyContact: letters nytimes.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Vote Hemp Late To Plant Hemp, Farmers File Suit Farmers Suing DEA Over Right To Grow Hemp Won't Rule on ND Hemp Licenses in Time
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Comment #20 posted by FoM on September 20, 2007 at 09:04:23 PT
Press Release from
North Dakota Farmers File Motion for Summary Judgment in Hemp Farming Case September 20, 2007,182349.shtml
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Comment #19 posted by FoM on August 27, 2007 at 12:18:10 PT
High Hopes for Hemp
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Comment #18 posted by kaptinemo on July 24, 2007 at 05:27:55 PT:
The fungus causing the problem is Fusarium
Remember our old pal Fusarium Oxysporum? Here's a reminder: the DrugWarriors wanted to use it on cannabis, coca and poppies. the article:Although Fusarium fumigation is touted by herbicidal suppliers and the U.S. Department of State as an economically efficient and environmentally sound method of combating drugs, the reality of Fusarium usage conflicts sharply with any claims of its safety and effectiveness. A recent article in the Washington Post describes massive food crop damage and river poisonings in Colombia's southern department of Putumayo. The mayor of La Hormiga, a municipality located in the heart of Putumayo, predicts widespread hunger in the town of 30,000 as a direct result of spraying. Reports like these are not uncommon or even surprising. When the history and scientific study of Fusarium fumigation is considered, the consequences of its mass usage in any environment become quite predictable.We've been warning about this for years, but the crazy, power-mad DrugWarriors want to risk ecocide and mass starvation in order to achieve their drug-free Utopia. Johnny Pee, Hisself, wants to use it...our dear, ecologically sensitive DrugCzar. Well, this article makes quite clear that the wild version of this is bad enough; why mess with something markedly worse?
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Comment #17 posted by The GCW on July 22, 2007 at 21:53:05 PT
indefensible position is not going to prevail 
This sort of illogical, indefensible position is not going to prevail forever.”
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Comment #16 posted by HempWorld on July 22, 2007 at 17:56:58 PT
DEA says you can't do it and they are 'sworn to
uphold the law.' Yeah, you mean like the 5 people who are currently in the Federal Compassionate Use program and who get pot legally from the govt. that says Marijuana has no medical value. Mmm... and yet somehow Hemp has to do with Marijuana? Go see in Great Britain how they regulate and grow Hemp, go see in Canada where Hemp is grown for eight years and runnning now... You don't even have to speak a different language to ask the farmers and government officials in these countries and you can read their regulations and these farmers aren't hiding pot in their field, and they are no 'criminals.' These are impractical myths invented by the DEA to keep their jobs!
Nobody can stop this!
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Comment #15 posted by potpal on July 22, 2007 at 16:12:24 PT
slow sunday
What a party...young repugs... 
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Comment #14 posted by E_Johnson on July 22, 2007 at 11:29:40 PT
If they want to use the meth lab analogy
Then tell them that hiding a field of pot in a field of hemp is about as smart as hiding your meth lab at the bottom of a pond.The hemp will pollinate the pot and turn it into schwag and whoever planted the pot will lose thousands and thousands of dollars.These DEA agents really are cynical liars. They know they're lying. It doesn't seem to bother them.They'd better HOPE God doesn't exist, because there is an explicit commandment from God not to lie, but there's nothing at all mentioned in the Bible about cannabis enforcement creating a special exception to that rule.So they're going to go up against God's judgment, and God's going to say -- How do you explain all this lying?The DEA agents will say -- we did it to keep Americans away from marijuana.God will say -- hhmmmmmm you must have read some other Bible, not the one I wrote. Buh-bye!!!
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Comment #13 posted by Wayne on July 22, 2007 at 06:51:57 PT
Re: whig
"We shall not disappear."I'll second that, my friend. I ain't scared neither. I'm not scared of George Bush, or Dick Cheney, or anyone that has to carry an assault rifle and cover their face to purport their message (be that Al Qaeda or the DEA or whomever).My face is not covered. I'm not going anywhere.
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Comment #12 posted by whig on July 21, 2007 at 23:45:03 PT
Thank you for continuing to inform us about the administration's crimes.As they still have considerable free will to act unless and until impeached and removed from office, however illegitimately obtained in the first instance under the probable circumstances of the Florida fix of 2000 and the Ohio fix of 2004, they could do a great deal of harm along the lines that BuzzFlash suggests. However, we have two advantages, one is the scrutiny which the administration continues to receive from bloggers and others on the internet. The second is the ability of these people including yourself to immediately respond to quell panic.Terrorism does not work if the population refuses to be terrified. Only in the absence of communication and a sense of community security can panic be established to a sufficient degree and duration to accomplish a further ratchet. Because the corporations have bought in to the internet and control the government to a greater extent than vice versa, the internet itself cannot be attacked to any great extent by the government itself directly. We are under more threat from the corporations in this regard, as AT&T, which also assists the administration in illegal wiretapping, re-obtains its old monopoly and the FCC repeals network neutrality. Google may choose not to be evil, because controlled by two people who have stated their willingness to put certain principles above profit, but they have helped the Chinese to censor and there is no guarantee they would not do so here.But here is a recent example, when Gordon Brown became PM in the UK there was shortly a "terror attack" which was entirely not worth being overdramatized. When in the very next day, Brown moved to ratchet, we cooled the whole thing down and it fizzled.What I am saying, at long last, is this: We are free not to be afraid of these people anymore. They cannot harm us if everyone can see what they are doing. Only in the dark, in secrecy, do they have the ability to act freely. And if it is possible that they could cause either of us to disappear, or anyone else that speaks against the administration, well we would be missed and this would cause questions to be asked that they do not want to answer.We shall not disappear.
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Comment #11 posted by RevRayGreen on July 21, 2007 at 17:33:54 PT
I have some questions
or at least one for Chet Culver aka the Big Lug...thanks.
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Comment #10 posted by ekim on July 21, 2007 at 16:49:46 PT
maybe some one has questions for the Govs.
Sunday, July 22 
7am - Newspaper Articles & Viewer Calls
8am - Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC) | State Web Site
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9am - Gov. Chet Culver (D-IA) | State Web Site Submit Guest Questions
Ask Washington Journal guests a question
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Comment #9 posted by mayan on July 21, 2007 at 13:57:45 PT
Even Buzzflash, not known for covering "conspiracy theories", is seeing the light...How The White House Will Manipulate Events and Emotions to Maintain GOP Executive Branch Control in 2008: sure hope folks are spreading this around. The neo-con terrorists are counting on our silence. Stand now or fall forever.
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Comment #8 posted by ekim on July 21, 2007 at 09:20:31 PT
Willie please get on the cellulose ethanol wagon
Date: Tuesday, July 24, 2007 
Time: 9:00pm 
Updated: Tuesday, July 17, 2007 6:23pm 
Event URL: 
City: Internet 
Country: USA 
Firstname: Alison 
Lastname: Myrden Last week Howard Wooldridge was in Kalamazoo for Cable Access TV interview Howard was also interviewed by the Kalamazoo
talkradio station -- 590 wkzo am
so i tuned in to hear clips of his interview rebroadcast with the news-- any way i heard a Great ad from the National Wildlife Fed and the Sierra Club on conservation and how using the cellulose to ethanol technology would greatly benefit both humans and nature. I hope that the authors of stories like this in the NYTs 
and Farmers helping Willie Nelson for Farm Aid 
will do 
more research and see that the National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden CO is making cellulose ethanol from switch grass at 1,150 gals per acre. 
Now see how much cellulose is in switch grass and compare that with Hemp at 77% lets see how both stack up against each other.
Corn is making far far less than that------------Not to mention that switch grass takes 2-3 years to get established in the field - to just months for Hemp.UK: Ultimate Green Machine: A Car Made Of HempURL: 
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Comment #7 posted by Sam Adams on July 21, 2007 at 09:01:49 PT
We've had a lot of meth labs....
therefore it's time to punish legitimate farmers trying to grow a fiber crop. Makes great sense!
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Comment #6 posted by goneposthole on July 21, 2007 at 08:36:17 PT
check it out
Cannabis grows. Plenty of it. Cannabis grows in California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Arkansas, Ohio, New York, Maine, Minnesota, and a few other states. Afghanistan and India are known to grow cannabis also. In India, there are roadside stands selling hash and cannabis legally. Today.A lot of cannabis is smoked by members of the general population in America. I know it. School teachers, postal workers, basketball coaches, farmers, and the list goes on. It will continue until the end of time.Hemp grows in China, Canada, Romania, Poland, and 27 or so other countries.Americans can't grow hemp, but they sure know how to grow cannabis for kind bud. The very best cannabis growers in the world reside inside the United States. Let it grow.
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Comment #5 posted by mayan on July 21, 2007 at 04:40:23 PT
NY Times!
The fascist's sinister motives are being exposed with lightning speed. Ron Paul gets a free plug in the New York Times too! SHADOW OF THE SWASTIKA: The Real Reason the Government Won't Debate Medical Cannabis and Industrial Hemp Re-legalization:'Sicko' in Top 5 Grossing Docs of All Time -- This Weekend it's "'Sicko' Night in America!"... from Michael Moore: Americans are finally learning the ugly truth on numerous fronts. I believe the fascists know and fear this and will soon try to turn back the calendar to the 1950's with another "SUPER-9/11". Which Americans will the terrorists in our government try to kill next? PREPARE...DeFazio asks, but he's denied access: Classified info - The congressman wanted to see government plans for after a terror attack: wake-up call: Watch for another 9/11-WMD experience: Call a PNAC member: Former Drug Czar and Education Boss Bill Bennett hung up on the 'Dictator in Chief': Bush EO - Total Asset Seizure For Opposing
Iraq Reform? THE WAY OUT IS THE WAY IN...Conservative Wakes Up to 9/11 Lies (video): Anyone Who Believes 9/11 Was Not an Enemy Attack is Insane (w/video): Ultimate Con: The 9/11 Documentary that Can't be Debunked: WAS AN INSIDE JOB - OUR NATION IS IN PERIL:
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Comment #4 posted by John Tyler on July 20, 2007 at 20:36:31 PT
on the other hand
On the other hand, they are going against the “party line” and by definition they must be labeled subversives too, or something equally bad. In the black and white world of the Drug War you are either for the war, or you are one of them. Name-calling is part of the strategy. Maybe they could be the “Gang of Two hemp advocates”.
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Comment #3 posted by John Tyler on July 20, 2007 at 20:24:26 PT
making sense
To these practical farmers growing hemp make a lot of sense, dollars and cents! Too bad the D.C. politicians don’t understand that. 
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Comment #2 posted by observer on July 20, 2007 at 20:24:06 PT
Marijuanos! Subversivos!
"This is not any subversive thing like trying to legalize marijuana...Trying to legalize marijuana is subversive?
propaganda theme #8
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on July 20, 2007 at 18:51:27 PT
Call for Hemp 
Lincoln Park spends a day in the weed By Nicole BrieseJuly 20, 2007Groups of teens sit in small, circular gatherings. Some have brought chairs, but most lounge lazily on the grass. Lincoln Park is quiet, except for the low, fairy-esque notes that float softly from a small makeshift stage adorned with American flags. A group of guys in chairs nonchalantly pass around a joint, faint clouds of smoke emerging above their heads. No one bats an eyelash—this is Peace Fest 2007. Also known, of course, as Hemp Fest, or even more accurately, Weed Fest, this 20-year-old, three-day festival is no Woodstock—the crowd is far less lively, and a couple hundred thousand people short. But this smaller, mellow group shares some of the same anti-war sentiments held by their flower child ancestors, as well as a very enthusiastic outlook on illegal substances. The stage, for example, is decorated with anti-war buttons protesting President Bush and the U.S. presence in Iraq. Across the lawn, a tent stands with informational pamphlets on the benefits of medical marijuana usage. A friendly debate between two young men is occurring on the matter, as one can be overheard saying, "I don’t use marijuana, but I have nothing against it." Complete Article:
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