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DEA Defies Congress, Seizes Hemp Seeds Bound For Legal Kentucky Crop


industrial hemp farming bill obamaThe ban on industrial hemp has long been the most glaringly senseless prohibition in America.  Nearly everybody knows that hemp is “marijuana’s sober cousin”, that smoking even a whole field of it couldn’t get a person high.  Yet hemp has been illegal since the Controlled Substances Act mandated its prohibition.  One must procure a permit from the Drug Enforcement Administration to plant hemp in America, and they’re not giving out any permits.

But that has changed.  This session, the US Congress, at the behest of Kentucky Senator and Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, passed an amendment he wrote to the annual Farm Bill allowing for the cultivation of hemp for research in the US states that have passed hemp laws, like Kentucky and eleven others.

This led Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer to move forward on his promise to return hemp as a commercial crop for Kentucky farmers.  He announced that the state would be moving forward with the planting of 250 pounds of hemp seeds imported from Italy.  The planting ceremony was to take place this Friday with the organizations Vote Hemp and Growing Warriors, a veterans’ group that helps returning veterans assimilate upon return from war through teaching them agricultural skills.

Now that ceremony is on hold and farmers fear the delays could force them to miss the spring planting season.  The DEA seized the 250 pound hemp seed shipment, evoking furor from the Comer, who took his complaints to Senator McConnell and Kentucky’s other pro-hemp senator, Rand Paul.  The DEA seemed to relent late Tuesday night, saying they’d issue a permit.  Then they reneged on that promise, claiming that nothing in the passage of the Farm Bill amendment authorized theimportation of hemp seeds into America, so Kentucky must apply to the DEA for the usual hemp permit that DEA never gives out.

Ag Commissioner Comer has now sued the DEA, claiming that “unaccountable federal agencies” are exercising “arbitrary and capricious powers” to deny the fact that the “cultivation of industrial hemp… is lawful.”  Kentucky Ag officials refuse to apply for the permit, reasoning that doing so would force the state to admit hemp is a Schedule I drug.  The Friday planting ceremony has been postponed indefinitely, as Comer says he doesn’t want to “jeopardize this court ruling.”

This stall tactic by the DEA over industrial hemp is just the latest in a long series of insubordinate acts by DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart, who once called the flying of a hemp US flag over the Capitol her “lowest point in 33 years in the DEA.”  She has repeatedly condemned statements and moves by the Obama Administration toward saner marijuana policies, saying her boss’s policies make her DEA “fight harder than ever”.

Leonhart remains embroiled in the “Fast and Furious” and “Andrew Chambers” controversies; the former involving collusion with the Sinaloa Cartel and allowing American guns into Mexican cartel hands, the latter involving the re-hiring of a snitch proven to be a liar in court.  Leonhart couldn’t even tell Rep. Jared Polis and Rep. Steve Cohen in congressional testimony whether marijuana use was safer than cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine.

Why President Obama continues to allow Michele Leonhart to publicly undermine the US Congress, the Department of Justice, and his own public comments is a growing mystery to drug policy observers.

Source: National Cannabis Coalitionmake a donation


About Author

Executive Director: Russ Belville has been active in Oregon marijuana reform since 2005, when he was elected second-in-command of the state affiliate, Oregon NORML. After four years with Oregon NORML, Russ was hired by National NORML in 2009, working as Outreach Coordinator and hosting the NORML Daily Audio Stash podcast until 2012. Since then, Russ launched the 420RADIO marijuana legalization network and is the host of The Russ Belville Show, a live daily marijuana news talk radio program. Russ is also a prolific writer, with over 300 articles posted online and in print in HIGH TIMES, Huffington Post, Alternet, The Weed Blog, Marijuana Politics, and more.


  1. Hey the feds know how make someone die while making it look like a natural cause. In washington one has to be careful of you threaten least you learn first hand about natural causes.

  2. If you or I went against our bosses orders we would be fired no questions asked. President Obama needs to fire her ass. All she is trying to prove is that she has a bigger dick! Let’s put the pressure on to have her fired email and call your congress men / women. Let’s show Leonheart that she is not the president and she needs to listen.

  3. It would be a pretty smart move by someone like Obama to leave this clown to dig her own grave. That way the legalization battle is forced to come to a head without making him look like the instigator and pissing off constituents as well as ignorant older voters. This strategy also would separate the legalization from being directly tied to the democratic party, which could end up being a real wildcard in both presidential and local elections. That woman is her own worst enemy. I bet she was real uptight growing up and someone dosed her with something strong that she couldn’t handle.

  4. The federal government of the United States has become a complete disgrace to humanity.

  5. Michele Leonhart of the DEA should be put in prison for racketeering for perjuring herself under oath that marijuana has no medical use and belongs under Schedule I. The only reason I can see why she is still in office is because she has a big fat file on Obama and the Choom Gang using tactics similar to what J Edgar Hoover used against the Kennedys.

  6. She was appointed by George W. Bush and Obama inherited her. If there are buried bodies, it’s not clear they originated with the current administration.

  7. NICE. Thanks for sharing this. The DEA (and Leonhart) have always been the Eric Cartmen of federal agencies. They lie their asses off by saying they’ll be good, but in the end, they do what they want.

  8. “Ag Commissioner Comer has now sued the DEA, claiming that “unaccountable federal agencies” are exercising “arbitrary and capricious powers” to deny the fact that the “cultivation of industrial hemp… is lawful.””
    Hey, they got my seeds once. Never again. lol Oh! Now it’s “capricious”?? After the DEA has fucked over millions of people and has ruined that many lives over weed now Ag Com. Comer is crying about his seeds? How’s it feel? It’s better than being in prison right?

  9. pissedoffhead on

    If she keeps playing rebel with a lost cause she may find out even more about where the bodies are buried… first hand

  10. “Why President Obama continues to allow Michele Leonhart to publicly undermine the US Congress, the Department of Justice…?”

    It seems obvious to me that you answered your own question in the previous paragraph. She knows where the bodies are buried. She could destroy Obama.

  11. If Leonhart makes it to the end of Obama’s term without being fired or forced to resign I will be completely mystified and will probably never vote for a Democrat ever again…

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