Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Manitoba hemp seeds confiscated at border

  • Print

DENVER -- Hundreds of kilograms of industrial hemp seeds bound from Canada to Colorado have been seized by federal authorities in North Dakota, marking the latest bump along the road to legalization of marijuana's non-intoxicating cousin.

At the centre of the dispute is activist Tom McClain. Armed with a copy of last year's federal farm bill, which allowed states to permit hemp cultivation for research and development, he set off for MacGregor, Man., and bought 160 kilograms of seeds used to grow a strain known as X-59 or hemp nut.

Hemp is legal in Canada, and North Dakota is one of 15 states with laws that allow limited hemp production. However, under the farm bill, importing hemp seeds requires permission from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

McClain's seeds were confiscated Saturday at the border crossing in Hansboro, N.D., after he says he declared the seven bags in his trunk. He has not been charged with a crime.

"They treated me very professionally," McClain said after he returned to Colorado without the seeds.

"They were just a little confused as to what to do. According to them, I couldn't bring them in."

Shawn Neudauer, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, confirmed the seizure.

"The shipment is currently undergoing scientific evaluation, as hemp seeds can look much like marijuana seeds," Neudauer said in a statement.

The seizure underscored the difficulties facing the fledgling U.S. hemp industry after five decades of prohibition.

Hemp is prized for oils, seeds and fibre, but its production had been prohibited because the plant can be manipulated to enhance the psychoactive chemical THC -- the intoxicant found in marijuana.

In another recent case, U.S. customs officials in Louisville, Ky., held a shipment of hemp seeds from Italy that was bound for research grows.

Kentucky agriculture authorities sued the Justice Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Attorney General Eric Holder to force the return of the seeds. The DEA relented and issued a permit to allow limited hemp planting for research in the state.

McClain and Jason Lauve of the Colorado-based activist group Hemp Cleans have appealed to congressional representatives in the state to resolve the seed flap in North Dakota.

A spokeswoman for Colorado's Agriculture Department said the agency hasn't been approached to intervene.

Colorado has accepted more than 40 hemp-cultivation applications. But the state has a don't-ask-don't-tell policy about the origin of the seeds.

Growers, meanwhile, have expressed frustration over the limited availability of seeds that are affordable and haven't been smuggled into the country.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 20, 2014 B6

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Glenn January won't blame offensive line for first loss

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A Canada goose flies towards the sun near the Perimeter Highway North and Main St Monday afternoon – See Day 10 for Bryksa’s 30 goose project - May 11, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • JOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Local-(  Standup photo)-    A butterfly looks for nector on a lily Tuesday afternoon in Wolseley-JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS- June 22, 2010

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Should the city grant mosquito buffer zones for medical reasons only?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google