HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Hemp Food Ban Hits Here
Pubdate: Thu, 06 Dec 2001
Source: Shepherd Express (WI)
Copyright: 2001 Alternative Publications Inc.
Author: Geoff Davidian


The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has passed new administrative rules that 
prohibit eating certain health foods made with anything coming from the 
hemp plant.

On Feb. 6, it will be illegal to sell or import hemp-containing foods, 
under a new rule of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The 
foods are being banned for import or sale because they contain traces of 
THC, the primary active constituent of marijuana.

That being the case, healthful products like Hemp Nuggets (hulled hemp 
seeds), imported legally from Canada, and the Nutiva Organic Bar, 
containing the soon-to-be-illegal mix of sunflower seeds, honey, shelled 
hempseeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and, possibly, traces of peanut, will 
be removed from shelves or retailers will face criminal prosecution.

At Outpost Natural Foods, 100 E. Capitol Drive, hemp-bearing items are 
being put on sale to reduce stock before the deadline. But employees were 
not sure which products were banned.

Hemp producers may be healthy, but they're not wimps. Several hemp food 
products manufacturers and the Hemp Industry Association, their trade 
group, have asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for an emergency 
stay of the rule's enforcement while they seek a formal review of the hemp ban.

Federal appeals courts are the designated forum for challenging agency 
rule-making actions.

"The DEA has given the manufacturers and retailers of consumable hemp 
products until Feb. 6 to dispose of their inventory-a situation which they 
assert will ruin their businesses. They say that their products are no more 
harmful than poppy seed bagels, which contain tiny trace amounts of opiate 
compounds, or fruit juices, which contain traces of alcohol," writes 
Michael Ravnitzky in the Dec. 3 issue of National Law Journal.

Products on the market that the DEA says are affected by the action include 
some beers, cheeses, coffees, corn chips, energy drinks, flours, ice 
creams, snack bars, salad oils, sodas and veggie burgers. Manufacturers say 
that there is no measurable THC content in these foods under tests 
available when Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act. Suppliers say 
hemp is used in food products because the seeds are a high-quality source 
of protein, and the hemp seed oil contains a variety of heart-healthy 
essential fatty acids not found in other food products.

"Our industry is seeing industrial hemp take off," says David Bronner, 
whose family uses hemp to make Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps. The firm's vice 
president is Ralph Bronner, who lives in Menomonee Falls.

"Right now, food is the only issue," says Bronner, president. But can 
clothes, rope or soap be far off?

"We feel industrial hemp has a lot of potential for fuel as an alternative 
to petrochemicals," he tells Shepherd Express.
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