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Ninth Circuit Says No To Federal Hemp Food Ban

Discussion in 'Marijuana News from The USA' started by RMJL, Apr 25, 2003.

  1. Ninth Circuit Says No To Federal Hemp Food Ban

    April 24, 2003 - San Francisco, CA, USA

    San Francisco, CA: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted the hemp industry's request to stay pending Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) regulations criminalizing the possession and manufacture of any edible hemp seed or oil products that contain trace amounts of THC - a psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. The DEA regulations, which were issued on March 21, 2003, were scheduled to take effect April 21, 2003.

    Representatives from the Hemp Industry's Association (HIA), which brought the "Motion to Stay" in conjunction with seven hemp food companies, were optimistic that the Court will ultimately invalidate the DEA's rule. One of the prime criteria in granting the motion was whether the hemp industry is likely to prevail on the merits of the case.

    Although some hemp products such as snack bars, veggie burgers and salad oils sometimes test positive for trace amounts of THC, there is no evidence that these levels are high enough to present any potential health or safety hazards to the consumer. Similarly, food products containing poppy seeds may test positive for trace amount of opiates.

    Retail sales of hemp products currently total some $250 million dollars, according to the nonprofit organization Vote Hemp.

    For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre of The NORML Foundation at (202) 483-8751 or visit: http://www.votehemp.org.


    by Karel Sovak, Correspondent,

    North Dakota

    Hemp Supporters Encouraged By Court's Stay On Ban

    - - If the most important thing about real estate is "location, location, location," then Robert Robinson believes the most important thing for industrial hemp is "education, education, education."

    Robinson, director of Modern Hemp, and members of Vote Hemp displayed some products and offered taste samples of "Hemp Crunch" and "Hemp Nuggets" and Alpsnack Nutrition Bars on Monday in Minot near the DEA office in an attempt to garner public opinion to "Just Say No" to the Drug Enforcement Agency's ban on hemp.

    The DEA's "Final Rule" ban would have gone into effect on Monday, ending the legal sale of hemp seed and oil products in the United States. The ruling, issued on March 21, 2003, was petitioned for appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court in March.

    The Ninth Circuit Court blocked the DEA hemp ban on Friday, allowing the continued sale of food and other hemp products.

    Robinson said the stay was simply good for business.

    "What we are doing is looking to educate people about the products and to show that hemp can be a legitimate industry," Robinson said. "There's this big hype that flax is the perfect oil, but medically and biologically speaking, that's not the case. The body consumes the EFA's ( essential fatty acids ) Omega 6 and Omega 3 elements in oils at a 3 to 1 ratio and flax is almost the opposite, at 1 to 3. Hemp seed is about that perfect 3 to 1 ratio. We just wanted to show people some of the products and educate everyone on the benefits of the products."

    The Hemp Industries Association estimates annual retail sales of hemp products at more than $105 million in the United States, with global retail sales at more than $250 million.

    The United States is the only major industrialized nation to prohibit the growing of industrial hemp.

    Robinson said North Dakota is primed to bring manufacturers into the state to begin processing hemp because of the existing infrastructure. He said the ruling puts confidence back into the equation.

    "We are less than an hour from the Canadian border and we have the ability to process a lot of the [hemp] fibers that flax is presently utilizing," Robinson said. "We also have excellent highway systems and railways to transport the products. We don't want the farmers worrying about how they are going to get this to market, nor have manufacturers not look to North Dakota as a source because no one is planting the crop. Now, we can finally start looking at getting some of these facilities in our state. We're working to get two test sites going in the state, one south of Minot and one in Fargo."

    The sites would be part of a $55,000 grant NDSU received to grow the hemp crops and provide additional information for research purposes. Robinson said a lot of misconceptions still exist about hemp.

    "Once we develop these sites, which will be the first in the nation since 1958, there will be more information available on hemp than ever before," Robinson said. "There is a huge difference between industrial hemp and marijuana. They are two completely different plants. They are both members of the cannabis family, but so is hops, which is used in so many of our beers."

    An organization called "Vote Hemp" likens the difference between the two plants as similar to the difference between the breeds of St. Bernard's and Chihuahuas.

    Canada started to license research crops in 1994 and by 2001, 92 Canadian farmers grew 3,250 acres of organically certified hemp crops. Overall, about 26 countries allow hemp to be grown and produced.

    Romania is the largest commercial producer of hemp in Europe, while France is the major source for the low-THC producing hempseed.

    The Ninth Court ruling indicated the trace of THC is "infinitesimal" in hemp seed. The decision was equated to the exemption of poppy seeds, which can contain traces of opiates.

    Joe Sandler, counsel for the HIA, said the ruling provides retailers and consumers with a reason to continue to stock, sell and consume hemp products.

    "The Court's order effectively prevents the DEA from enforcing its 'Final Rule,'" Sandler said. "With this stay in effect, all those who sell, import, manufacture, distribute and retail edible hemp oil and seed products can continue in those activities secure in the knowledge the products remain perfectly lawful."

    Robinson said that 17 states are currently in the process of legalizing industrial hemp and others are applying for grants . He added area farmers can benefit greatly by adding the diversity of the hemp plant to their crop rotation.

    "North Dakota is still agricultural based and the farmers are the life bread of our economy," Robinson said. "We have the potential to develop this industry in North Dakota and create more jobs in Minot. Once we get the DEA approval on the test plots, we'll be able to show what North Dakota can do in this market. We've had tremendous support in the area and I think it is because people realize what the benefits will be to farming and manufacturing."

    MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom
    Pubdate: Tue, 22 Apr 2003
    Source: Minot Daily News (ND)
    Copyright: 2003 Minot Daily News
    Contact: editor@ndweb.com
    Website: http://www.minotdailynews.com/
    Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/2888
    Author: Karel Sovak, Correspondent
    Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/hemp.htm (Hemp)

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