Volume 3, Issue 17, Summer 2001 ISSN 1498-8135
America & International
The Merry Hempsters are dedicated to promoting the end of Cannabis prohibition through the production of environmentally friendly products. We use the finest quality natural ingredients combined with environmentally sound and cutting edge eco-friendly packaging. Each product is unique in its healing properties but all contain hemp oil as a base. We have a well established and expanding presence in the marketplace with outlets all over the US and Canada. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org fax at 541-345-0910 or voice at 541-345-9317 (Toll-free number is US only)
Bad news first in case you missed it. The US Drug Enforcement Administration appears poised to move forward with new regulations that could redefine hempseed-derived products as illegal under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). According to these proposed regulations, any food or cosmetic products that allows the entry of any THC into the human body would be declared illegal. Hemp fiber producst are said to be exempted form these new interpretations.
This hypersensitivity towards trace elements of THC is rooted in fears that hemp products may cause a false positive for urinalysis testing, mandatory for many employees in the public and private sector.
The "I-had-some-hemp-oil" defence has already caused the US Air Force to declare hempseed oil off limits to personal (Air Force Instruction 44-121) "While most airmen have no desire to jeopardise their careers by ingesting illegal products, some may do so by ingesting products that contain hemp. The bad news is that ignorance is no excuse." The Air Forces advice: Buyer Beware.
(Regulatory Intelligence Data, 04-17-2001).
Global cosmetic megadealer, The Body Shop, has begun a petition effort in all its stores in the US to head off proposed regulations. They want to get 30,000 signatures. This drive has been attracting some media attention to date, in small markets such as Hartford and Salt Lake City. It has not yet hit the radar screen of the national media. For more information please see http://www.the-body-shop.com/usa/interactivist/hemp-battle.html or http://www.voiceyourself.com.
Meanwhile, several hemp businesses, including food and cosmetics companies, are working to develop standards that will show the industry are responsible and in line with DEA concerns about THC in consumer products. Based on research to date, voluntary THC limits of 5 part per million for Hemp Oil and 1.5 parts per million for Shelled Hempseed "the most commonly consumed seed in the US market" have been tentatively agreed upon. Though these are lower limits then are currently allowed in Canada, the rationale is that these limits still allow copious consumption of hemp foods while falling far beneath the threshold of urinalysis testing.
Though the standards are not necessary in Canada, a number of Canadian firms are looking at working with these protostandards as a mark of confidence in their hemp exports. As Canada's own regulations are due to be reworked, these voluntary standards could make their way onto the table and become part of the discussion here. For more information go to: http://www.testpledge.com.
In May, John Walters found new political life as he became the nominee for the head at the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Waters, an ONDCP deputy director under the previous Bush administration, is reputed to be more conservative than his predecessor McCaffrey in the issues that are under the review of that office.
In other DC news, Representative Asa Hutchinson (R-Ark.), President Bush's nominee to head the Drug Enforcement Administration, is well on his way to confirmation in the U.S. Senate. Rep. Hutchinson is a graduate of Bob Jones University in South Carolina and is a former federal prosecutor. He is considered by many to be a shoe-in.
New ATF regulations have come to light that speak of the drift of federal government establishment. In the Spring of 2001, Lexington Brewery Company of Kentucky received a stern warning regarding the depiction of a hemp leaf on their label and the use of the word "hemp" in the product's name. "This sends the wrong idea" according to the ATF. Other American brewers have been hassled as well. These regulations are over a year old, but seem to have found their way into enforcement only recently.
The ATF turnaround about hemp are more than cosmetic. The "ATF POLICY FOR BEVERAGE ALCOHOL PRODUCTS MADE WITH HEMP OR HEMP COMPONENTS" stipulates that alcohol manufacturers making beverages containing hemp or a hemp component must submit a laboratory analysis for THC. For imported hemp, the ATF rules spell out that the THC testing must be performed in the country of origin (for component) as well as by a laboratory in the USA (for finished product). This double testing is in lockstep with Health Canada's own double standard.
The laboratory test information must also specify the amount of THC detected, or state that none was detected AND specify the lowest level of THC that could be detected by that particular laboratory. The ATF regulations are similar to the proposed DEA regulations, as they consider trace organic amounts of THC to be a Schedule I controlled substance, no matter how low the amount.
For more information on ATF policy go to: http://www.atf.treas.gov/press/breakingnews/fy01/040700hemp.htm.
While the THC and hemp debate continues, it should be recognised that the FDA, like other global food agencies, are struggling to become more attentive in food regulation. Stern warnings regarding novel ingredients in foods (herbals such as ginseng and echinecea in soft drinks) have been issued and a crackdown on undeclared allergens in food products (peanuts) is imminent.
Critics have pointed out that the novel classification of herbals is a misuse of legislation passed in the 1950's to regulate the increase of chemical additives in the food supply, not traditional herbal ingredients.The FDA says they are protecting the conventional integrity of the food supply.
Another form of protecting the integrity of the food supply is organic certification; California hemp foods leader HempNut Inc. has received third party certified organic status from Quality Assurance International. While hemp is commonly grown without pesticides and herbicides, organic certification verifies that this is the case.
"We hope all hempseed food producers will jump on the organic wagon before it's too late," says Richard Rose of HempNut. "Hempseed consumers deserve it, and organic farmers should be rewarded for going organic and helping our planet."
Rose has also recently sold off his Rella Good Cheese line to Florida-based Tree of Life Inc.'s natural foods manufacturing and marketing division American Natural Snacks. Tree of Life also markets the Soya Kaas line. The divestment of the vegan-friendly line of cheese substitutes to a competitor, for an undisclosed sum, gives HempNut cash for other hemp activities including a possible brand-name restaurant. Tree of Life is in an aquisition phase, acquiring a BC health food company Preisco/Jentash Foods in July.
Last issue, the Hemp Report wrote that the trademark for HempNut had been recalled by the PTO in a dispute about whether or not it is a generic term for hulled seed. Rose contends that he originated the mark, popularised it and has a common law right to the term by virtue of use. He says, the "recall" as referred to in our last issue, is actually a staying of the status while a claim of intent to use the "HempNut" trademark, made by New York's Mother Earth Enterprises, is decided upon.
The rest of the industry is currently employing a large variety of terms to cover the status of the shell-less seed, including other trademarks. As a whole, the hemp food sector is drifting into using a commonly accepted generic name, likely "hulled" or "shelled" and getting on with business.
There is a lot of growth potential there. Mainstream America might not be eating much hemp right now, but they are missing out on something good. According to National Institute of Health the number of Americans eating special diets to combat high cholesterol is currently numbered at 52 million and rising.
On the state level, prohemp legislation continues to hit the wall. State Senator Jim Jensen of Omaha said allowing industrial hemp to be grown in Nebraska "is scary, because in fact, kids are going to try this, and eventually try the real stuff and you'll have to call paramedics to revive them." (Nebraska Journal Star). In the face of this kind of opposition, its not surprising that the cornhusker state didn't pass their bill.
The Hemp Report recently contacted the bellwether state of Illinois on the status of its own hemp bill: HB3377. Ryan's press office remarks of the bill "it is currently being reviewed by staff." As of July 25th HB3377 is still on the Governor's desk, unsigned. Governor Ryan (Left), who vetoed the last hemp bill to make it to his desk (SB1397), is mum. The Governor either does not have a position on the bill at this time or is not making it known. If Ryan simply ignores the bill, it will pass into law by mid-August.
California's own 2001 hemp bill did not pass out of the state agriculture committee. Republican opposition noted in a brief: "We are experiencing low prices in nearly every agricultural commodity in California. One of the main products hemp would compete with is cotton. The cotton industry has been struggling for several years even though California produces some of the highest quality cotton in the world." The analysis of the bill added that California doesn't need a law that conflicts with federal regulation: "Go change federal law and then come to us."
Undeterred, California's hemp champion, Virginia Strom-Martin has reintroduced a hemp bill (Assembly Bill 388). For more state legislation updates, see http://www.votehemp.com/issue.html#state
On an upbeat note, HempCar kicked off its transamerican tour on July 4th. Keep an eye out on both the information and hardtop highways for more developments.
On a parallel highway, Detroit keeps moving ahead with utilising plant fibres as a replacement for fibreglass. According to the New York Times, plant fibres -- led by hemp -- replaced 2 percent of the fibreglass in mats, seat backs, and other plastic composites last year in North America. This figure will continue to grow as hemp fibers are reportedly at least 65 cents cheaper per pound than fibreglass.
Final Thoughts: State Representative Cynthia Theilen on getting Hawaii's 2001 research license renewed: "We don't anticipate a problem with the DEA." But as she said then to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, it may take another year or two before the DEA moves on the public-hearing phase. "It takes time to get the Federal government to change direction. "
HempNut, Inc. fine hempseed foods since 1994. Our newest products include Organic Blue Corn Chips, individually wrapped Chocolate Chip Cookies, and certified Organic and Kosher HempNut brand shelled hempseed. Now available in Europe.
Contact: HempNut, Inc. PO Box 1368 Santa Rosa CA 95402-1368 USA Tel: 707-571-1330 Fax: 707-545-7116 www.TheHempNut.com email: sales@TheHempNut.com
By Dr. Dave West
The Hawaii Industrial Hemp Project was created by an act of the Hawaii Legislature and signed into law as Act 305 by Governor Cayetano on July 7, 1999.
In its inception, the project was largely a vehicle for making manifest to the world the requirements which face anyone wishing to research cannabis, regardless of the THC level. The project complied with the federal statutes which specify that to handle a Schedule One controlled substance (in our case, read: "grow a plant") the researcher must erect a fence 10 ft high with barbed-wire and a security system. We did that.
Having complied in this fashion, we received our state and federal narcotics permits and were then able to import our controlled substance (seed). On December 14, 1999, a day the Governor declared Industrial Hemp Day, the first seed was planted in a ceremony with state officials and Hawaiian Kahuna.
Once this media-rich phase was over, the practical issues associated with introducing a new, unadapted crop to an area had to be addressed. The site where we work was previously pineapple land. It has a high clay content and low pH. So the first issues were edaphic. The second issue is germplasm.
The soil-plant (edaphic) factors were worked out eventually. The germplasm issue has to do with the source of the seed. For expediency, the first seed accessions consisted of the standard set of European hemp varieties. Later, we obtained seed from Dr. Bocsa's program in Hungary as well. For the most part, none of these accessions performed well at Hawaiian latitude (20(N). Photoperiodism results in immediate induction of reproductive phase, meaning that the plants flower in a month and finish seed in 2-3 months. They rarely grow taller than 3 ft (shorter in winter, a little taller in summer). Although this could be advantageous were Hawaii to provide winter nursery facilities to a mainland hemp breeding program as currently with maize (and this is the paradigm in which our project currently operates), it presents practical problems for hemp production on a large scale in a climate with a rainy season. (It may be worth noting, however, that growing northern hemp varieties in tropical latitudes in settings where the crop can be tended closely, as say in home garden plots, would be a way to provide critical nutrition rapidly. Refugee camps come to mind.)
The greatest hazard to production for the crop in Hawaii is birds. The crops that do well here-fruit trees, pineapple, sugarcane-are generally not propagated by seed. Birds take the seed when it's planted and when it's ripe. Finches will decapitate the sprout. The measures we had to take to avoid bird predation would not be practical on a large scale.
In order to explore a broader range of germplasm, the project dispatched a plant explorer to Asia to make a collection. Those accessions reveal a much greater range of phenotype than the European hemp which was barely distinguishable one from the other in this environment. From the Asian collection we have plants which after six months still have not flowered and are now great "Christmas trees" seven feet tall. Such plants are not "industrial" varieties in the usual sense, but represent sources of maturity and other genes for our program. They are also interesting examples of the productive capacity of the genus not found in European germpools.
This is a very interesting collection of material. We are reminded that it was from Chinese seed sent to America around 1850 that Kentucky Hemp arose. We are also reminded that all of that variety is effectively extinct, preserved only in the feral stands.
A major goal of this project is to synthesize breeding populations from which hemp adapted to US cornbelt latitudes can be redeveloped and these Asian accessions are critical. So it is tragic that on May 18, 2001, someone broke into the site and stole all of our seed! And that's where it's at for the moment. We are recovering and moving into a new phase. At some point, in the far future, the violation may appear salubrious.
Dave West is the head of the Hawaii Research project. He can be reached at email@example.com
HIA Convention Registration now OPEN! 8th Annual HIA Convention October 4 - 7, 2001 Maui, Hawaii Come network with industry leaders, attend seminars, including motivational business experts, feast on hemp foods and beverages, and buy and sell products at Hemp Market Day, while enjoying the beautiful Hawaiian Islands. Meet HI Hemp Project leaders: Rep. Cynthia Thielen, Dr. Dave West, and Dan Paquin, phytoremediation expert. Check out the HIA Convention Web page for details: http://thehia.org/2001convention.html
New European Industrial Hemp Association Forms: First meeting in August
The European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) will hold its first meeting this August.
The Agenda will include an EIHA proposal for modified EU-subsidies for flax and hemp, quality management for fibres, fibre prices, marketing cooperation, joined market expansion, news about the EU "End of life" vehicle directive, actual market data, and hemp projects form Poland to Brandenburg.
The meeting will be held in Montjean/Loire (France) on August 16th, corresponding with the Festival du chanvre de Montjean-sur-Loire (see www.hempreport.com/events.html).
The Association was founded in September 2000, on the occasion of Bioresource Hemp 2000 in Wolfsburg Germany. The group sees itself as an informal conjunction of hemp primary processing companies active in the European Union.
Members include, Hemcore Ltd. (UK), HempFlax (NL), La ChanvriËre de L'Aube (F), Badische Naturfaseraufbereitung GmbH (D), AGRO-Dienst GmbH (D), Chantex (F), Hanf-Faser-Fabrik Uckermark GmbH (D), and VERNARO GmbH (D).
The aims of the EIHA include information exchange between members and national ministries, to act as a liaison between industry and government and to collect information on the European natural fibres industries.
For more information on EIHA contact Michael Karus (nova-Institute, firstname.lastname@example.org) or Francois Desanlis (La ChanvriËre de L'Aube, email@example.com) or goto www.eiha.org
Haworth Press to publish Journal of Industrial Hemp: early 2002
After publishing the high quality Journal of the International Hemp Association in house for six years, the International Hemp Association has farmed out their long running trade journal to Haworth Press, of Binghampton, NY .
Haworth Press, publishes numerous publications for professional, academic, and general audiences. The journal will be relaunched in early 2002, renamed as the Journal of Industrial Hemp (JIH).
JIH will continue as the official publication of the IHA beginning with the numbering volume 7, Number 1. Most of the former JIHA format of scientific and popular articles will be maintained; Dr. Hayo van der Werf will continue as Editor-in-chief and the Editorial Advisory Board will also remain. The IHA believes that the layout and printing quality of the new journal should improve through this cooperation. As well, individual membership fees will be reduced with the relaunch.
Watch this space for more details.
For six years worth of back issues of the JIHA, see: www.commonlink.com/~olsen/HEMP/IHA/iha.html
For more information about the IHA, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
To check out Haworth press, see http://www.haworthpressinc.com
New Zealand to proceed with Hemp Trials
Congratulations to the hemp advocates of New Zealand, who have been given the nod to proceed with research trials. Despite some recent challenges importing seed that meets phytosanitray standards, the opportunity in New Zealand begins now. In these early days, advocates are noting the hempseed oil complements the flax oil production in the country, and that hemp foods may be a good replacement for soy in human diets. As for fibre, New Wool Products of Nelson says the could be used in a blend with wool as an insulating material, replacing fibreglass, as the thermal insulation properties is competitive bad the acoustic properties are four times superior.
For more information see New Zealand Hemp Industries Association web site at www.nzhia.com
To go back to the Table of Contents, click here.
To go to Part 1, Canada, click here.
To go to Part 2, Fibre & Food, click here.
To go to Part 4, Research, click here.
To go to the Summer Hemp Quiz, click here.
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