Farmers Fight to Legalize Pot's Cousin
Growing hemp won't harm drug war, say strapped ND growers
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2007 5:39 PM CDT
Alex White Plume sits on the back steps of his house near Manderson, S.D., on Tuesday, June 26, 2007, near some hemp plants that grew from seeds knocked off plants confiscated by federal drug agents....   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The push to legalize hemp—marijuana’s less potent cousin—has some unlikely supporters: North Dakota farmers who couldn't be more conservative in every other respect, the New York Times reports. Hemp, used in clothing, lotions and even snack bars, has become especially attractive to North Dakota because of a fungus that has decimated wheat crops.

But they need the feds' permission to grow it, and so far the government hasn’t relented. The state’s agriculture commissioner calls the holdout “illogical” and “indefensible.” Local officials have pledged to monitor growers to weed out any cheaters, adding that cross-pollination between hemp and marijuana would leave both less potent.