Pubdate: Wed, 14 Dec 2005
Source: Columbia Daily Tribune (MO)
Copyright: 2005 Columbia Daily Tribune
Bookmark: (Hemp)
Bookmark: (Hemp - Outside U.S.)


ST. LOUIS (AP) - Members of a family say they were growing hemp, not
marijuana, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota and
asked federal appeals judges Monday to return the matter to a lower
court to consider the legality of their crop.

The White Plume family tried three times to grow an industrial hemp
crop on Oglala Sioux reservation land from 2000 to 2002, only to have
the plants seized and destroyed by the federal government. The family
was later ordered by a judge to halt the plantings

"Our contention is we're not growing a drug, and since we're not
growing a drug, we don't need to apply to the government for
permission," said lawyer Bruce Ellison, who represents brothers Alex
and Percy White Plume.

A lawyer for the government said the family could have applied to the
Drug Enforcement Agency to seek permission to grow the crop. Without
that permission, the plantings could not be allowed, said Assistant
U.S. Attorney Mark Salter.

The White Plumes have not been criminally charged.

Ellison said hemp and marijuana are two different varieties of the
same plant. The hemp planted by the White Plume family had less than 1
percent of the psychoactive ingredient, tetrahydrocannibol, or THC,
court records said. Marijuana usually has THC levels of 5 percent or
higher, according to those records.

Telling the judges he used hemp soap and shampoo during his morning
shower and wrote on paper made from hemp fibers, Ellison argued that
oil and fibers from industrial hemp plantings could provide a
significant source of income to subsistence farmers on the
reservation. Such products, made with imported hemp, are legal in the
United States.

A lawyer representing Delaware-based Tierra Madre and the
Kentucky-based Madison Hemp and Flax Co. said the White Plumes' hemp
was part of a project to grow and process hemp on the reservation to
create building materials for a structure for a tribal elder.

After the hearing, Alex and Percy's White Plume's sister, Ramona, 44,
said the family planted the crop for use in products like paper. "We
want to create jobs for our youths and a better future for them," she

The judges did not set a date for their ruling, and it might be months
before their determination is made. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake