Farmers in the U.S could be growing hemp as a biomass crop, if a federal court rules in favor of two farmers trying to get a ban on the marijuana-related plant lifted.
This story from Biomass Magazine says the new president could also have a hand in lifting that ban:
The U.S. Appeals Court in St. Paul, Minn., heard arguments Nov. 12 by two North Dakota farmers trying to get a lower court’s dismissal of their suit against a federal agency overturned. David Monson, Osnabrock, N.D., and Wayne Hauge, Ray, N.D., have state approval to grow industrial hemp in North Dakota, but are suing the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to get a federal permit to grow industrial hemp. Hemp is related to the illegal drug marijuana and under federal law some of the industrial hemp plant is considered a controlled substance. The three-judge appeals panel will issue a written decision, but that isn’t expected to be available for several months…[Jim Pillsbury of Framingham, Mass., who is developing hemp for heating pellets and had a Canadian prototype biomass research facility] predicts President-elect’s Barack Obama’s administration will lift the ban on growing hemp in the United States, and pointed out that it’s being grown in many other countries. “The new administration has a solid commitment to bring new and old ideas to the table for renewable energy,” he said. Industrial hemp is an ideal bioenergy, Pillsbury said, citing figures from Canada that show straw yields of 6 tons per hectare (2.47 acres) and 1.5 tons of fiber, in addition to 200 liters (50 gallons) of oil pressed from the seed.