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Hemp farming in a new era of alternative opportunity

By Hempology | January 23, 2008

Grand Forks Herald, ND
20 Jan 2008
Wayne Hauge


RAY, N.D.  I am proud and honored by the negative comments of Jeanette McDougal and John Coleman, as well as mystified by their statements that provide little in the way of statistical evidence to support their negative stance on industrial hemp ( “The plan: First hemp, then pot” and “‘Legalize pot’ groups use hemp arguments as front,” Page 4A, Jan.  16 ).

I am honored that McDougal would recognize North Dakota farmers as solid citizens: “What group is perceived as more ‘solid’ than America’s farmers, especially North Dakota farmers?” Even in Arkansas, people who disagree with us recognize farmers in the entire Midwest are hard-working folks who supply the food needs of not only this great country but also major portions of the world.

But to state that marijuana has any correlation to the efforts by myself and everyone I have to date come in contact with, is sorely mistaken. 

In the 18 years that I was an emergency medical technician volunteering with our local ambulance squad, I responded to too many calls that involved drugs.  For me, it does not matter that marijuana could lead to other drugs; I will have nothing to do with its legalization.

I will have nothing to do with any tobacco products, either.  Tobacco should be grown in the U.S.  only as biological factories, or pharmaceutical plants that could use their large leaves for protein and other chemicals.

Further, to suppose that marijuana can be planted inside a field of industrial hemp and achieve any degree of so-called recreational high is again misleading.  From what I have read, industrial hemp is a dominant pollinator, which reduces THC ( delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol ) content in marijuana to a point where the “good stuff” would end up practically worthless.

Industrial hemp pollen also would with winds pollinate marijuana plants for miles and, therefore, would serve as a compelling reason why it would be a desirable rotational crop.

Far more likely would be growing pot inside a corn field.  But with sophisticated satellite imagery and high-speed computers, a lab could survey a suspected area 24 hours a day in multiple wavelengths.

So, no marijuana for me.

As to Coleman, his assertion that our nation’s legislators have been swindled by past drug proponents is intriguing, to say the least.  In order to make this assertion, you have to assume that the governor of North Dakota, along with the state attorney general, agriculture commissioner and House and Senate majorities, also have been duped.

North Dakota is known as a state with hard-working people who are respected for their ingenuity and integrity.  Coleman’s assertions are akin to the idiocy put forth in the old story about the Buffalo Commons: As written by Frank and Deborah Popper in 1987, our drier Upper Midwest plains supposedly were not suitable for sustainable agriculture.  But North Dakota recently has been listed among the top in the nation in production of many grains, peas, beans, lentils and honey.  The state also produces a great deal of beef, pork, turkey, buffalo and other meats.

If industrial hemp is not a profitable rotational crop well suited to North Dakota, then why have our leaders supported legalization of it for 10 years?

Further, if industrial hemp is as readily available from other sources across the world as you presume, then freight must be free to get it to domestic markets.

It will be interesting to see how comments stack up by supporters of industrial hemp and those who have a different agenda.

I look forward to farming in a new era of alternative opportunity.  When the stigma of marijuana has been separated from industrial hemp, then the creative talents of bright minds across our great nation truly will shine with new and innovative ideas.

In June, Hauge and another farmer with a state hemp-farming license, State Rep.  David Monson of Osnabrock, sued in U.S.  District Court in an effort to end the federal government’s obstruction of commercial hemp farming in the U.S.  They’re appealing a judge decision in November to dismiss their suit.

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