HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Appeals Court Rejects DEA Bid to Outlaw Hemp Foods
Pubdate: Fri, 06 Feb 2004
Source: Associated Press (Wire)
Copyright: 2004 Associated Press
Author: Terence Chea, Associated Press
Cited: Hemp Industries Association


SAN FRANCISCO - Rejecting one front of the government's drug war, a
federal appeals court ruled Friday the United States cannot ban the
sale of food made with natural hemp that contains only trace amounts
of the psychoactive chemical in marijuana.

The decision overturns the Drug Enforcement Administration's ban on
the domestic sale of hemp food products. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals put the DEA's move on hold last March so it could hear a
challenge from the hemp industry.

On Friday, the court said that though the DEA has regulatory authority
over marijuana and synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC,
the agency did not follow the law in asserting authority over all hemp
food products as well.

"They cannot regulate naturally-occuring THC not contained within or
derived from marijuana," the court ruled, noting it's not possible to
get high from products with only trace amounts of the mind-altering

Hemp is an industrial plant related to marijuana. Fiber from the plant
long has been used to make paper, clothing, rope and other products.
Its oil is found in body-care products such as lotion, soap and
cosmetics and in a host of foods, including energy bars, waffles,
milk-free cheese, veggie burgers and bread.

Last April, DEA attorney Daniel Dormont argued for the ban, telling
the three-judge appeals panel that "there's no way of knowing" whether
some food made with hemp could get consumers high.

Hemp food sellers say their products are full of nutrition, not drugs.
They say the food contains such a small amount of the active
ingredient in marijuana that it's impossible to get high.

In October 2002, the DEA declared that food products containing even
trace amounts of THC were banned under the Controlled Substances Act.

The DEA ordered a halt to the production and distribution of all goods
containing THC that were intended for human consumption. The DEA also
ordered all such products destroyed or removed from the United States
by March 18 - but the 9th Circuit suspended that order so it could
decide whether federal law may classify hemp food as an illegal
controlled substance like heroin.

The case is Hemp Industries Association v. Drug Enforcement
Administration, 01-71662. 
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