The DEA Refused to Discuss a Hemp Waiver With Kentucky's Agricultural Commissioner


alternatePhotography / photo on flickr

Kentucky Agricultural Commissioner James Comer met with some powerful people in D.C. yesterday: a White House staffer, members of the Department of Agriculture and the EPA, and House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio). The reason for his visit is the hemp commission his state created earlier this year. To get it off the ground, Kentucky will need a federal waiver exempting it from the Controlled Substances Act's prohibition of domestic hemp farming.

Wouldn't you know it, the Drug Enforcement Administration reportedly wouldn't give Comer the time of day

Comer said the DEA told him they didn't "meet with third parties," and wouldn't have met with the state's Democratic governor, Steve Beshear, either. Comer chalked the decision up to the DEA protecting their turf — and their cash.

"I know there's a lot of money appropriated for marijuana eradication," he said.

Not only does the DEA receive ungodly amounts of money to eradicate ditchweed, its also been historically opposed to disguingishing between hemp and marijuana. Here's the DEA's criticism of a 1994 hemp reclassification bill: 

Let us be clear that what we are talking about in this Bill is marijuana. Calling it "hemp" on the basis of an artificial threshold level of psychoactive ingredient does not erase the fact that it is botanically and legally the same plant. An illegal drug by any other name is still an illegal drug.

The threshold level of THC content which the Bill proposes as the imaginary dividing line between marijuana and hemp communicates another delusional message. No less an authority than Dr. Charles Ksir of the University of Wyoming points out that the marijuana sold of the streets is the 1960s and 1970s was of this strength. To think that those interested in the criminal use and distribution of marijuana would forsake the "hemp" as defined by the Bill is altogether naive.

Here's the DEA in 2001

DEA Administrator Asa Hutchinson stated that "many Americans do not know that hemp and marijuana are both parts of the same plant and that hemp cannot be produced without producing marijuana."

While most of the THC in cannabis plants is concentrated in the marijuana, all parts of the plant, including hemp, have been found to contain THC. The existence of THC in hemp is significant because THC, like marijuana, is a schedule I controlled substance. Federal law prohibits human consumption and possession of schedule I controlled substances. In addition, they are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for medical use.

If the DEA holds that hemp and marijuana are indistinguishable (which it does), and also that marijuana and crack cocaine are indistinguishable (yep), it's easy to see why the agency refused to meet with Comer. For a reminder of what Comer and other reformers are up against, here's video of DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart testifying before Congress that marijuana is every bit as dangerous as every other kind of illegal drug: 

NEXT: Video: Singularity University's Salim Ismail on the Age of Technological Disruption

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  1. Federal law prohibits human consumption and possession of schedule I controlled substances.

    The presumption and hubris of this statement are beyond belief. And the impotence of it is stunning as well. No worries, they’ll just find some poor people to prove it to.

    1. For example, if the Feds actually followed the Controlled Substances Act, there’s no way that marijuana would be Schedule I. (Much less hemp.)

      Yet since Congress has shown no willingness to call the Executive Branch on the carpet for ignoring the law (presumably because many of them are happy with the hypocrisy), it persists.

      1. Congress actually legislated marijuana into Schedule 1 and put in a fiat claim that it had no medicinal purpose, banning research on it.

        I fail to see how this behaviour lets them off the hook.

        1. (Yes, I know it was a previous congress, but there’s so little turnover that I hold them responsible for their past actions)

        2. Well, sort of. They legislated it into Schedule 1 initially, along with a lot of other drugs, but they also specifically provided the process for the Attorney General to remove or reschedule drugs based on a finding that it doesn’t fit the criteria listed, and it clearly doesn’t.

          1. Unless there was subsequent legislation that I’m forgetting at the moment.

          2. The trouble is that the key criterion is the vague word “abuse”. Since that can mean anything, any ruling the att’y gen’l makes is legally justified. Last time they said marijuana has a high potential for abuse because minors like it.

  2. When I rise to power, the fate that awaits all people involved with the DEA is the boats.

    1. Hell Yeah! Just like they did to Mithridates!

    2. Goddamn.

        1. The blood eagle is too quick, and not demeaning at all.

        2. It has the advantage of being cheaper. But is not as tortuous.

        3. I’m not cut out to be a cruel person. I’d just kill a guy and move on. ADD has its upsides.

    3. I think we are getting our asses kicked in the Battle of Nations medieval fighting style tournament. I think the US v. someone melee just ended with us getting the shaft.

      1. What am I watching?

        Day 1
        Category: Mass Battles 21×21

        1. As best I can tell, its a team melee last man standing event where literally getting taken to the ground counts as “out”.

          1. Yeah, some poor shlub was bulled over and not allowed to get back up. But that guy at the end took some punishment.

      2. okay, that was hilarious.

      3. US vs. someone starting soon.

        1. Looks like the Italians.

            1. How can we not be good at this?

              1. Our solution was to employ superior technologies and tactics. IRL, we’d just build a more accurate gun or ramp up tank production.

    4. They need to be drawn and quartered.

  3. He claims that the House Speaker, the White House, the DoA, EPA, and DoE all seemed receptive. Hmm.

    1. And McConnell is officially supportive. If all that’s true, then the DEA shouldn’t be able to stop it.

      According to Comer, Boehner told the trio he would talk with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) about how a federal bill might be moved forward to remove hemp from the list of controlled substances….

      “I was impressed with his knowledge of this issue,” Comer said of Boehner. “At the end he said, ‘This is funny, because this issue’s been around a long time. My daughter was talking about this 15 years ago.'”

      From here. Prepared to be disappointed, as always, but could be a lot worse.

      1. Heh. You’ve never gone to war with a unionized bureaocracy before. They don’t give a fuck. You need 49 non-Kentuckian senators and probably 200 and something non-Kentuckian representatives. All the DEA needs to do is keep talking to the national papers about why this is a bad idea.

        1. Oh, the DEA has pull, because it can convince people. But the law’s pretty clear that the AG has power here, and Congress could make the decision itself if it chose.

          The DEA power here is entirely in its ability to persuade, as you note.

          1. What part of “Rogue Agency” do you not understand?

    2. Maybe they’re kinky and into anal?

  4. Let’s get these clueless drug bureaucrats off the Federal tit and into some real jobs!

    1. There just isn’t much call for idiots to hold up sticks with implements on the other end anymore.

      1. I dunno, I’d pay minimum wage to have my own Swiss Guard.

    2. Like sanitation engineer or sewer inspector.

  5. The fucktardery is strong with this one. Never is the question asked, “why is it prohibited for human consumption or possession?” Unschedule it, asshole!

    1. Oh, no, it’s deliberate that that question never gets asked.

      1. Marijuana is defined as a Schedule 1 drug. We can’t change that definition. Words mean things! Societal collapse! Argh!

        1. Look, you glib fuck, some of us care about law and order. ROMNEY WOULD HAVE DONE IT TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

          1. Warty, your behavior is becoming troublesome. Do you want to go back on the block list?

            1. Just admit it, Hugh. You can’t quit him. I know I can’t.

              1. You probably could if you could get out of his basement.

      2. It was asked decades ago, and someone shouted “think of the children” so stupidity ensued.

    2. The circular logic and blatant dishonesty employed by the cunt in the video is maddening, but to be expected from someone in law enforcement.

    3. Because it’s a gateway drug?


  6. Comer said the DEA told him they didn’t “meet with third parties,” and wouldn’t have met with the state’s Democratic governor, Steve Beshear, either.

    Arrogant motherfuckers.


  7. … and poppy seeds are the same as opium!

    … and gasoline is the same as sniffing glue!

    … and low-T medicine is the same as anabolic steroids!

    C’mon, you guys as home can play along …

    1. And a Handy J and kiss on the cheek is the same as sex and a back-rub?

  8. Comer said the DEA told him they didn’t “meet with third parties,” and wouldn’t have met with the state’s Democratic governor, Steve Beshear, either. Comer chalked the decision up to the DEA protecting their turf ? and their cash.

    They might as well just go ahead and say it: “FUCK YOU, THAT’S WHY.” This is pretty much what that amounts to. And might I add that this is pretty much the mindset of every bureaucrat in the executive branch.

    Quick, someone point out that the federal government is us/ we are the government and how these noble “public servants” selflessly serve “we the people”. That fairy tale never gets old.

    1. The thing is, most executive branch higher-ups do meet with third parties. Every day. They’re called lobbyists.

      1. I’m grassroots. You’re an advocate. They’re lobbyists.

    2. Or translated even better:

      Fuck you, you backwards provincial hick! How dare you seek a direct audience with the king’s officials to insult us with your petty questions and concerns? You don’t contact us, we contact you!

      Now kiss my fucking ring!

      1. Or glans.

  9. If they’re going to spend billions to eradicate a weed, then why don’t they just ban dandelions?

  10. Dick Enforcement Assholes

  11. End hemp and marijuana prohibition NOW ! Support the “Jack Herrer Hemp Initiative” to legalize, regulate and tax BOTH in 2014 in California. The campaign kicks off on May 18 at WeedFest 2013 in WEED, CALIFORNIA (naturally). http://weedfest2013.com/ . FREE concert, 14 bands on 2 stages, great food, games vendors and more !
    END PROHIBITION NOW ! Sign the petition at the concert…

  12. So they don’t meet with 3rd parties. Someone has to apply to DEA to make their low-THC hemp an “exempt preparation” for “industrial use”, as allowed by the regs. Either that, or directly for an application to grow cannabis of such specification. Then they’re not a 3rd party, and it’s not a governor seeking a special exemption.

  13. Blocking the scientific, medical, industrial and horticultural uses of cannabis goes against the intention of the UN Treaty that our drug laws are founded on…



    Article 4
    The parties shall take such legislative and administrative measures as may be necessary:

    c) Subject to the provisions of this Convention, to limit exclusively to medical and scientific purposes the production, manufacture, export, import, distribution of, trade in, use and possession of drugs.

    Article 28

    2. This Convention shall not apply to the cultivation of the cannabis plant exclusively for industrial purposes (fibre and seed) or horticultural purposes.

  14. Too bad we couldn’t get all the drug warriors together on a big cruise ship and NUKE EM FROM SPACE.

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