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S.D. Farmer Struggling to Grow Hemp

"But these are policy arguments better suited for the congressional hearing room than the courtroom," the judges wrote.

The best hopes for White Plume and other farmers who want to grow hemp are measures in Congress and North Dakota's effort to get the DEA to issue licenses for the production of hemp, said his lawyer, Bruce Ellison.

North Dakota has authorized hemp growing and issued the nation's first state licenses to grow hemp, but the two farmers with the licenses could face legal problems without DEA permits. The DEA has not acted yet on the farmers' applications, and the farmers filed a lawsuit last month asking a federal judge to let them grow hemp without being subject to federal criminal charges.

Vote Hemp, an industrial hemp advocacy organization, says North Dakota is one of seven states that have authorized industrial hemp farming.

White Plume said he and his family have gone through some tough times, particularly when they were uncertain whether they faced federal drug charges. He also had to endure jokes that implied he was growing a drug.

"That was the hardest, hardest time," he said.

White Plume intends to spend his time working on environmental protection and treaty issues, such as an effort to regain the Black Hills that were taken from the Lakota more than 125 years ago.

And if farmers ever are allowed to grow hemp, he's prepared to plant another crop.

"We didn't give up our struggle," White Plume said. "We still want to grow hemp and we still got all our plans in shape."

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