Cannabis News The November Coalition
  DEA Rule Bans Hemp Food Products
Posted by FoM on December 01, 2001 at 16:51:56 PT
By Michael Ravnitzky, The National Law Journal  
Source: Law.com  

hemp 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 DEA says it is interpreting and enforcing an existing rule, which doesn't require formal rule-making procedures. But critics charge that the agency is simultaneously soliciting comments for a new rule with the same wording and effect. It published the rule in the Federal Register Oct. 9. The foods are being banned for import or sale because they contain traces of THC, the primary active constituent of marijuana.

DEA Administrator Asa Hutchinson has also said that "many Americans do not know that hemp and marijuana are both parts of the same plant and that hemp cannot be produced without producing marijuana," according to a DEA statement.

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 enforcement of the rule. They also seek formal review of the rule (66 Fed. Reg. 51530 et. seq.).

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.

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. The suppliers say that 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.

The DEA describes the rule as an interpretation of that statute and of DEA regulations, which under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), require no formal rule-making procedures.

VERDICT BEFORE TRIAL?

"It's like the judge announcing the verdict before the trial," says John H. Young of Washington, D.C.'s Sandler Young, representing a group of U.S. and Canadian companies making and selling hemp food products as petitioners with his partner Joseph E. Sandler and solo practitioner Patrick Goggin as local counsel. Sandler says that under the APA statute, the rule is clearly substantive in nature, a categorization that requires a formal rule-making hearing, or else notice to the public and an opportunity for comment. Petitioners charge that the DEA is avoiding the proper regulatory procedures by issuing the dual rule.

A DEA spokesperson declined to comment, deferring to the press advisory statement posted at the DEA Web site, at www.dea.gov. The comment period for the immediate proposed rule ends Dec. 10.

A 1998 seizure of hemp birdseed led to more than two years of extensive interagency tussles, in which certain factions argued for conformity with international trade standards on hemp, and other agencies insisted on a zero threshold level.

In November 2000, DEA announced its plans to publish more restrictive rules. Those rules, published Oct. 9, ban the sale or importation of hemp products that "enter the human body" because the DEA says the products contain THC traces. Sandler says Congress never intended to apply bans on hemp products to microscopic traces detectable by modern analytical methods. He noted that poppy seeds are exempted from the Controlled Substances Act even though they contain trace opiates, and that fruit juice has trace amounts of natural alcohol through fermentation but is not subject to liquor laws.

Apart from trying to stop imposition of the DEA rule, David C. Frankel, a San Francisco attorney and Hemp Industries Association board member, said the trade association members are "looking to work with DEA to set up protocols that do not interfere with legitimate law enforcement without forcing our products off the shelves."

The Family Research Council, a Washington, D.C.-based conservative advocacy organization, has submitted papers in support of the DEA rules. Robert Maginnis, the council's vice president for policy, said that the hemp issue is being used to camouflage a marijuana decriminalization legalization agenda, and that there are ample substitutes for hemp products. Maginnis says that legalization of hemp products sends a pro-drug message to children.

On Nov. 8, Rose A. Briceno, and Wayne Raabe, senior trial attorneys with the DOJ's Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section, filed an opposition motion to the request for an emergency stay. Petitioners filed a reply to the opposition brief Nov. 15.

Note: What do some beers, cheeses, ice creams and soda products have in common -- besides being tasty? They contain small amounts of hemp, and under a new U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration rule, will soon be banned for import or sale because they contain traces of THC, the primary active constituent of marijuana. And according to DEA Administrator Asa Hutchinson, "hemp cannot be produced without producing marijuana."

Source: Law.com (CA)
Author: Michael Ravnitzky, The National Law Journal
Published: December 3, 2001
Copyright: 2001 NLP IP Company
Website: http://www.law.com/
Contact: http://store.law.com/feedback_form.asp

Related Articles & Web Sites:

HIA
http://www.thehia.org/

FTE's Hemp Links
http://freedomtoexhale.com/hls.htm

Healthy Hemp in Hot Peril
http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread11234.shtml

Seeds of Discord - Reason Magazine
http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread11219.shtml

DEA Rules Ban Edible Hemp Products
http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread11068.shtml


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Comment #11 posted by schmeff on December 03, 2001 at 11:23:25 PT
Hemp not dangerous
The DEA is not arguing that the traces of THC in edible hemp products are dangerous. Rather, they are pretty up-front that the reason for the ban is to uphold the reliability of the drug testing industry, by eliminating any recourse to the "it musta been sumpin' I ate" defense.

It would seem that the interests of a particular industry, and it's cozy position at the feeding trough of the gravy train that is the WOsD is a higher priority than the rights if individuals to decide what diets they may follow to enhance their health and well-being.

Given the extremes to which King George will go to consolidate federal power, look for the prohibition of walking and the riding of bicycles as a means to stabilize the petroleum industry and ensure a strong America.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #10 posted by MIkeEEEEE on December 02, 2001 at 13:15:00 PT
DEA prohibition plan
Even though the government seems to finalize prohibition by outlawing hemp, it's a little too late. The walls of prohibition are falling all over the world.

Lets hope for common sense, finally.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #9 posted by FoM on December 02, 2001 at 10:59:24 PT
Just a Friendly Reminder - Hemp Poll
YOU BE THE JUDGE
http://www.cannabisnews.com/news/thread11465.shtml#4

Representatives of the hemp industry have asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit to block the Drug Enforcement Administration's ban on the sale of hemp foods. How should the court rule?

Current Results
Block the ban - 97.1%
Uphold the ban - 0.8%

http://www.nlj.com/index.shtml

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #8 posted by Tim Stone on December 01, 2001 at 22:18:09 PT
Banned for our health?
The DEA's banning edible hemp argument as I try to understand it consists mostly of the idea that cannabis has been banned for decades because it is "dangerous," and the narks are now stretching the cellophane a bit tighter to also cover the idea that edible hemp is also pretty much as dangerous, so it should be as banned as smoke cannabis has been. If that were true, if the DEA is claiming that edible hemp products are dangerous enough to ban, why are they giving retailers three months to clear their inventories? If edible hemp is dangerous, how dare they leave it on the shelves for an additional three months so even more hapless, victimized users can be exposed to...um...whatever the heck the supposed health danger is. And if the DEA wants to ban a substance as "dangerous," then, instead of banning the substance outright, allows it to remain on retail shelves for some months more, isn't the DEA opening itself to a humongous class action lawsuit from people who subsequently used the to-be-banned substance during the interim period before it was banned, and who now claim, "Oh, the gov't was right. Hemp seed is dangerous. It gave me the noxious wind real bad and my girlfriend couldn't stand it and left me. And because the gov't didn't _immediately_ ban it, I thought it was safe to use until Feb. 6th. So somebody owes me money."

Flippancy aside, I'm hoping my essential point is clear: The DEA allowing retailers to clear their shelves of inventory before the ban goes into effect gives the lie to the idea that the inventory to be cleared is dangerous enough to be banned to begin with.

The general reason the DEA can slide past that is that when the legal issues of this DEA ruling finally come before some semblance of a judge, the ruling will already be a done thing with hemp products already off the shelves and all associated commercial hemp industries devastated if not out of business, to begin with (variations on a theme of possession being nine-tenths of the law), and will be decided on by the judiciary along the lines of existing arcane, crazily bureaucratic, hyper-technical laws, as complex as they are insanely irrelevant to the real-world, all of which laws were originally drafted with massive DEA input, to make sure the DEA controlled the levers of the law from A to Z, to make sure them evil druggies never got a fair say because they didn't deserve it, being evil druggies.

And _that_ is the steep, high legal mountain that we reform-minded folk are just starting to climb. With the dogged determination and increasing agility of a mountain goat.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #7 posted by FoM on December 01, 2001 at 20:48:24 PT
mayan & everyone
Glad you liked it. I hope everyone votes! My husband's cholesterol test is getting up a bit too high and I think that Hemp oil is suppose to help. I'll be looking into it further now since putting him on medicine isn't what we want to do unless absolutely necessary. I guess I will need to buy enough for a while if the DEA has it's way.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #6 posted by goneposthole on December 01, 2001 at 20:24:30 PT
Robert Maginnis
Let's examine the logic here. "Legalization of hemp products sends a pro drug message to children."

This line of logic could then be construed to reason that the sale of corn and barley would send a pro alcohol message. If you eat corn flakes, eat beef barley soup then you will inevitably drink copious amounts of alcohol. Makes sense to me.

What a bleak future for America. These people must be stopped because they are just plain out of control.

Reality is an unacceptable concept for them. What part of failure do they not understand?

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #5 posted by mayan on December 01, 2001 at 20:23:17 PT
Thanks FoM!
Cool Poll!

Block the ban - 99.5%

Uphold the ban - .4%

210 total votes.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #4 posted by FoM on December 01, 2001 at 20:05:42 PT
Hemp Poll - National Law Journal
YOU BE THE JUDGE

Representatives of the hemp industry have asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit to block the Drug Enforcement Administration's ban on the sale of hemp foods. How should the court rule?

Current Results
Block the ban - 99.1%
Uphold the ban - 0.8%

http://www.nlj.com/index.shtml

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #3 posted by p4me on December 01, 2001 at 19:48:19 PT
Is this Nazi Germany
Why isn't stuff like this on the news? Why isn't there any anything in the Washington Post or the New York Times? The fact that no one is talking about the terrible coverage of MJ is absolutely scary. There is plenty of ink for every car crash and every high school football game. In tomorrows Ny Times how many words will there be? 2 million. 4 million. And how many times will THC or marijuana even be mentioned?

This is not the America I want and no one seems concerned. It is scary and no one is even alarmed. I wonder if it is all a bad dream. It seems like at least one journalist would present the case. But no one? Is this a nightmare or what?

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #2 posted by mayan on December 01, 2001 at 19:16:49 PT
oops!
The second link is here: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n000/a225.html

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #1 posted by mayan on December 01, 2001 at 19:13:45 PT
Don't Forget December 4th!
Don't forget to attend the nationwide rallies Dec 4th. to protest the DEA's ban on hemp foods!

Students for Sensible Drug Policy & Vote Hemp plan rallies: http://www.drcnet.org/wol/212.html#dayofaction

Location Sites:(scroll to bottom) http://ww.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n000/a225.html

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