Legal Cases > DEA 
add this
Vote Hemp Report
Industry Standards

Legal Cases

Voter Guide

Download Center
Search Site
Site Map

Advanced Search

Enter Your Email:
What you will receive

DEA Proposes New Rules
Banning Hemp Food Products
History of DEA Regulations Regarding Hemp Products

QUICK CLICK GUIDE: click on the links below (please read the Action Alert Overview first)

Action Alert Overview - Read this first.

DEA Rules and Historical Overview: Early Documents - Read the early legal filings and documents related to the hemp food controversy. Discover the real reasons behind the government's actions.

Send a Pre-Written Email, Fax or Letter - Let Congress know how you feel about hemp.

Contribute to Vote Hemp - We need your support for the industry’s legal efforts.

Sign Up for the Vote Hemp Action Alert Email List - Stay informed about the hemp industry and hemp legislation.

Buy Hemp Food Products - Buy products from certified TestPledge companies to support hemp industry development. Vote with your wallet.

Action Alert Overview

On May 14, 2001 the DEA published a notice in the Unified Agenda of its intent to publish new rules which would schedule naturally-occurring trace amounts of THC under the Controlled Substances Act. These new rules would have the effect of banning legal hemp food and oil products that may contain any trace amount of THC. The DEA contends that such rules are required to protect public health and safety and to preserve the integrity of the U.S. drug-testing system. In response to the DEA's proposed rules, a coalition of businesses and the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) submitted a letter of opposition.
Those companies signing the letter maintain that:  (1) natural trace amounts of THC pose no health risk; (2) hemp food and oil products containing trace amounts of natural THC that are currently produced for the market by signatory companies do not contain enough trace THC to trigger a false positive drug test under current federal testing parameters; (3) the DEA does not have the legal authority to issue such rules without initiating proper rulemaking proceedings under the Controlled Substances Act and the Administrative Procedure Act; and (4) even if the DEA initiates such rulemaking proceedings, the planned rules should not be issued because they are outside the scope of the Controlled Substances Act.
Paraphrasing from the hemp industry letter to the DEA, the basic reasons for use of hemp seed and oil in foods are the seed meat has an excellent flavor profile and a high protein efficiency ratio, and the oil contains linoleic acid (omega-6 fatty acid) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3 fatty acid) in the ratio of 3:1 which is the optimal ratio for human health benefits.  Dr. Udo Erasmus, an internationally-recognized authority on the subject of oils and fats, writes in Fats that Heal — Fats that Kill: "Hemp seed oil may be nature's most perfectly-balanced oil.  It contains an ideal 3:1 ratio of omega-6's [linoleic acid] to omega-3's [alpha-linolenic acid] for long-term use, and provides the omega-6 derivative gamma-linolenic acid (GLA)." This superior nutritional profile makes hemp seed and oil ideal for a wide range of food applications, as well as for cosmetics and body care products.  
The hemp industry letter also states a brief description of each signatory company.  The damages that would be suffered due to the DEA's proposed ban on hemp foods and oils would exceed $40 million (as of 2001).

The hemp industry letter was the result of focused work, research and consensus-building by the Vote Hemp Legal Committee, the HIA Food and Oils Committee, Jon Gettman, Ph.D., administrative law specialist Jack Young and Vote Hemp corporate counsel Joe Sandler (both of Sandler, Reiff & Young, P.C.). Gero Leson, D.Env., provided technical review.

At our Why Hemp? page you can download and review a summary of all hemp-related legislation that has passed at the state level, as well as the National Conference of State Legislators’ resolution calling upon Congress to distinguish between drug cannabis and non-drug industrial hemp and to promote the re-commercialization of industrial hemp as a value-added agricultural crop for farmers. The DEA’s planned rules would have a devastating effect not only on the existing import-dependent U.S. industrial hemp industry, but also would cripple the ability of states with existing infrastructure and legislation to develop hemp as a viable domestic crop.

You can also download and review the studies mentioned in the hemp industry letter to the DEA: "THC in Hemp Foods and Cosmetics: The Appropriate Risk Assessment" and "Evaluating Interference of THC in Hemp Food Products with Employee Drug-Testing." For more in-depth information on the amazing potential of industrial hemp in America, please also see our Why Hemp? page to read the Vote Hemp Treatise "A Renewal of Common Sense: The Case for Hemp in 21st Century America" and Dr. David West's "Hemp and Marijuana — Myths and Realities."

We appreciate any effort you make to help us ensure the DEA does not continue to interfere with the current lawful importation of hemp seed and oil upon which the American hemp industry depends. We have added a feature to our Web site that allows you to easily send a pre-written email, fax or letter to your federal elected officials expressing your support for industrial hemp and opposition to DEA harassment.

At our Contribute page, you can make a donation to Vote Hemp to help fund our legal and lobbying efforts on behalf of industrial hemp in America. Our ability to continue these efforts depends on your support

DEA Rules and Historical Overview: Early Documents

DEA Updated (2nd) Rulemaking Notice - Updated proposed rules as published in the May 14, 2001 Federal Register (PDF file 19k)

Hemp Industry Letter to the DEA - Letter coordinated by Vote Hemp and sent on February 16, 2001 re: "Planned Interpretive and Interim Rules Affecting Hemp Seed & Oil Products" (PDF file 206k)

DEA Rulemaking Notice - Proposed rules as published in the November 30, 2000 Federal Register (PDF file 96k)

The truth is that the DEA, at the direction of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and the urging of the Family Research Council, attempted to kill the legitimate, burgeoning hemp (foods) industry not because hemp may be harmful to human health or pose any real threat, but because they saw it as a ‘stalking horse’ for the marijuana movement:

ONDCP Memo to USCS on Emerging Hemp Industry (PDF file 165k)
     Written by ONDCP General Counsel Ed Jurith to U.S. Customs Chief Counsel                Alfonso Robles - April 10, 2000

Justice Department Legal Opinion Letters on Hemp Seed Legal Status
     Written by DOJ Chief John Roth to DEA Administrator Donnie Marshall and U.S.           Customs Commissioner Raymond Kelly - March 22 and 23, 2000




votehemp logo