For Immediate Release
February 4, 2002
Contact Adam Eidinger / Mintwood
Media at (202) 986-6186
DEA Rule Faces Congressional Backlash
Hemp Industry to "Dispose" Hemp Foods
on Capitol Hill February 6th
CAPITOL HILL, WASHINGTON, DC —
On October 9th, the Drug Enforcement Administration
(DEA) issued an "Interpretive
Rule" to immediately ban any edible item containing
hemp seed or oil that contains "any THC" and
gave consumers until February 6th to "dispose"
of such products. On February 6th, hemp industry representatives
will conduct a Congressional Hemp Taste Test by delivering
hemp foods to members of Congress to demonstrate that
these foods are safe, nutritious and should remain legal.
Members of the media should contact Adam Eidinger at
202-986-6186 to schedule interviews or to learn more
about the Congressional Taste Test.
"Members of Congress from every state
have heard from upset constituents telling them that
the DEA has misinterpreted the law that exempts highly
nutritious hemp seed and oil from the DEA's control"
says Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp, a grassroots
organization dedicated to the re-commercialization of
In a "Dear Colleague" letter
last week, Representatives George Miller (D-CA) and
Ron Paul (R-TX), sent along an "AlpSnack,"
an energy bar that contains hemp seed, to remind members
that hemp seed consumption does not interfere with drug-testing
and that sterilized hemp seed and oil are exempted from
the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) under the statutory
definition of marijuana (just as poppy seeds, commonly
consumed on bagels, are exempted under the statutory
definition of the opium poppy). In December, Congressman
George Miller (D-CA) wrote, "The interpretive rule
must be amended to establish realistic standards which
take into account current testing technologies and better
define trace levels of THC which are permissible for
human use." Miller's view was echoed in a letter
to the DEA this month by Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), which
said "The Interpretive Rule goes beyond the intent
of the Controlled Substances Act and other marijuana
control laws passed by Congress. Products such as hemp
seed and oil — which allow only a harmless, trace
amount of THC to enter the human body and do not cause
psychoactive effects — were not what Congress
was seeking to ban. For example, the DEA does not ban
poppy seeds with trace amounts of opiates or fruit juices
with trace amounts of alcohol."
Hemp seed has a well-balanced protein
content and the highest content of essential fatty acids
(EFA's) of any oil in nature: EFA's are the "good
fats" that, like vitamins, the body does not produce
and must eat. Dr.
Udo Erasmus, an internationally recognized nutritional
authority on fats and oils, writes in Fats that
Heal — Fats that Kill: "Hemp seed oil
may be nature's most perfectly balanced oil." Not
surprisingly, shelled hemp seed and oil are increasingly
used in natural food products, such as corn chips, nutrition
bars, hummus, nondairy milks, breads and cereals. In
the last few years, the hemp foods industry has grown
from less than $1 million a year to over $5 million
in retail sales. Companies who ship hemp seed and oil
to the U.S. market do not detect any THC in their products,
and intend [along with major U.S. manufacturers and
natural market retail chains] to continue to sell hemp
foods after February 6th.
Internal Department of Justice (DOJ)
documents, obtained through the Freedom of Information
Act, demonstrate that the DEA (along with U.S. Customs)
was instructed by the DOJ in March of 2000 that they
do not have the authority to restrict the import of
hemp seed and oil. The DOJ
letter stated, "Hemp products intended for
human consumption have THC at levels too low to trigger
a psychoactive effect and are not purchased, sold or
marketed with the intent of having a psychoactive effect."
The hemp industry does not expect the DEA to enforce
the rule due to the fact that the agency is in court,
where their illegal rule will most likely be invalidated.
The 10-year-old global hemp market is a thriving commercial
success. Unfortunately, because the DEA's Drug-War paranoia
has confused non-psychoactive industrial hemp varieties
of cannabis with the psychoactive marijuana varieties,
the U.S. is the only major industrialized nation to
prohibit the growing of industrial hemp.
Visit www.VoteHemp.com to read court
documents and numerous scientific
studies concerning hemp foods. 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).