A man dressed as George Washington and a small gang of hemp fans protested outside the Justice Department Wednesday, asking Attorney General Eric Holder to allow United States farmers to grow the fiber cultivated from Cannabis plants.
Fewer than ten — who arrived in a van powered by waste vegetable oil and hemp oil — gathered as part of Hemp History Week.
Since 1937, when marijuana was classified as a narcotic drug, U.S. farmers have been effectively banned from growing the plant. But before then, hemp was a stable crop of many American farmers and several former Presidents, including Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, grew the plant.
Earlier this week, the North Dakota Speaker of the House, David Monson, brought a lawsuit against the Drug Enforcement Administration, arguing that there have been unreasonable delays to his 2007 application to grow industrial hemp.
Holder said in October that the prosecution of medical marijuana users was not a priority for the Justice Department.
For more on Hemp History Week, see this NBC story.