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DEA Rule Bans Hemp Foods; Hemp Industry Asks Newspaper Editors to Look at Facts
Vote Hemp Press Release

December 10, 2001

DEA Rule Bans Hemp Foods; Hemp Industry Asks Newspaper Editors to Look at Facts

News Advisory:

ARLINGTON, Va. -- The promising multimillion-dollar-a-year hemp food industry is fighting for survival as a result of a new "interpretive" rule that was issued by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on Oct. 9, 2001. VoteHemp.com urges newspapers editors to look at the facts about hemp foods and take a strong stand against the rule before it results in job losses and hundreds of nutritious hemp food products being taken off store shelves. DEA enforcement will begin Feb. 6, 2002.

The DEA claims hemp foods containing non-psychoactive miniscule trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient found in marijuana, are illegal under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1971. In fact, Congress exempted non-viable hemp seed and oil from control under the CSA, 21 U.S.C. '802 (16), regardless of the presence of any trace THC (just as poppy seeds are exempted from the CSA despite containing trace opiates). Sterilized hemp seeds have been available in the United States for decades and are a well-balanced source of protein, omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids (EFAs). Hemp manufacturers agree their hemp seed and oil contain infinitesimal amounts of THC, but not enough to possibly cause a psychoactive effect or trigger a false-positive confirmation drug test even when unrealistic amounts of hemp seed and oil are eaten on a daily basis (see hemp industry standards regarding trace THC at http://www.testpledge.com). Nutritious hemp seeds and oil are about as likely to be abused as poppy seed bagels for their trace opiate content, or fruit juices because of their trace alcohol content (present through natural fermentation). The DEA has not banned poppy seed bagels despite the trace opiates that have interfered with workplace confirmation drug testing, which hemp foods do not.

Hemp is a tremendous renewable resource for food, fiber and energy. The 10-year-old global hemp market is a thriving commercial success. Popular hemp foods include pretzels, chips, energy bars, waffles, salad dressing, candy, cereal, oil, ice cream and even non-dairy milk. Unfortunately, due to outdated attitudes and drug-war paranoia in Washington, the United States is the only major industrialized nation to prohibit the growing and processing of hemp.

Since Jamestown and up to 1950, American farmers cultivated industrial hemp. Now, a large, well-educated cross-section of citizens is demanding that this right be restored. On Dec. 4, 2001, Vote Hemp, working with students, nutritionists, and hemp manufacturers, organized the first ever "DEA Taste Tests" at DEA offices and natural food stores in 76 cities around the country to educate the public and generate thousands of public comments to the DEA. Not only did the DEA turn down our offers to meet with them to discuss this issue, but in numerous cities, DEA officers harassed and intimidated organizers of the taste tests, barring them from public sidewalks adjacent to their offices. To hemp enthusiasts, the DEA's behavior mirrors their deliberate ignorance of the beneficial aspects of hemp foods. Currently, hemp food manufacturers are in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals seeking a stay of the new rule and are preparing to file suit under chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The DEA's new rules will cause substantial harm to hemp businesses and consumers alike and are not based on any real threat or abuse potential. "The five-year-old U.S. hemp food industry is roughly the size of the soy food industry 30 years ago. Today, soy is used in countless food products and is a multi-billion-dollar crop," says John Roulac, president of Nutiva, a leading manufacturer with products in 800 stores (http://www.nutiva.com).

Please visit http://VoteHemp.com to read numerous scientific studies of hemp foods and see court documents.

For more information or to arrange interviews with representatives of the hemp industry, please call Adam Eidinger at 202-986-6186 or 202-744-2671 (cell).

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