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DEA's War on Drugs Out of Control
Vote Hemp Press Release

April 4, 2002

DEA's War on Drugs Out of Control
Industrial Hemp (& Medical Marijuana) vs. DEA in U.S. Court April 8

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - U.S. COURT of APPEALS for the NINTH CIRCUIT - Lawyers representing the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) will argue before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA's) attempt to ban nutritious hemp foods misinterprets the Controlled Substances Act and violates the Administrative Procedures Act. Members of the media are encouraged to attend the April 8, 9:00 AM hearings at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit located at 95 Seventh Street, San Francisco, CA. Coincidentally, the Court has scheduled oral arguments on the same day, place and time for Conant v McCaffrey in which a group of California physicians filed suit against U.S. federal agencies for threatening to revoke the license of any physician who talks about medical marijuana with a patient.

The Industrial Hemp issue should not be confused with the debate over medical marijuana. Unfortunately, because DEA's drug-war paranoia has confused non-psychoactive industrial hemp varieties of cannabis with psychoactive "marijuana" varieties, the U.S. is the only major industrialized nation to prohibit the growing and processing of industrial hemp. The difference between hemp and marijuana is like a Chihuahua and a St. Bernard, different varieties of the same species.

"The food use of industrial hemp is strictly an issue of nutrition. Hemp seeds are harvested from non-psychoactive hemp plants cultivated under strict regulatory regimes in the EU and Canada and are an exceptional source of protein, omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids (EFAs)," says David Bronner, Chair of the HIA's Food and Oil Committee. "Medical marijuana is derived from the flowers of high THC 'marijuana' varieties of cannabis and cannot be obtained from industrial hemp varieties. The only commonality is that both are held hostage under the same out of control drug war."

The hemp food issue erupted on October 9, 2001 when the DEA issued an interpretive rule purporting to make hemp foods containing harmless infinitesimal traces of naturally-occurring THC immediately illegal under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970. Because trace infinitesimal THC in hemp seed is non-psychoactive and insignificant, the U.S. Congress exempted non-viable hemp seed and oil from control under the CSA, just as Congress exempted poppy seeds from the CSA, although they contain trace opiates otherwise subject to control. On March 7, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals granted the HIA's Motion to Stay DEA's rule, effectively blocking DEA's rule until the Court makes a final decision some number of months from now. Retailers have been reassured that hemp food products should remain on the shelves, as hemp foods are perfectly legal with the Court's Stay in effect. Bronner states: "Based on the law and common sense, we expect that the Court will find that DEA's rules are obviously unfounded and arbitrary."

Independent studies and reviews conducted by foreign governments have confirmed that trace THC found in the increasingly popular hemp foods cannot cause psychoactivity or other health effects, or result in a confirmed positive drug test for marijuana, even when unrealistically large amounts of hemp seed and oil are consumed daily. Hemp seeds and oil are as likely to be "abused" as poppy seed bagels for their trace opiate content, or fruit juices because of their trace alcohol content. Yet, DEA has not tried to ban poppy seed bagels despite their trace opiates that have interfered with workplace drug testing, which hemp foods do not.

A positive court ruling will allow the hemp foods industry segment to continue its phenomenal expansion. Popular hemp foods include pretzels, tortilla chips, energy bars, waffles, bread, salad dressing, cereal, cooking oil, ice cream and even non-dairy milk. Unlike the U.S., other Western countries such as Canada, Germany, and Australia have adopted rational THC limits for foods, similar to those voluntarily observed by North American hemp food companies (see hemp industry standards regarding trace THC at http://www.TestPledge.com). No other Western nation has banned the consumption of hemp foods. The 10-year-old global hemp market is a thriving commercial success.

Visit http://www.VoteHemp.com to read court documents and numerous scientific studies re: hemp foods.

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