Check Aisle 7 for War on Drugs

Check Aisle 7 for War on Drugs
Posted by FoM on February 07, 2002 at 07:15:11 PT
By Arthur Hirsch, Sun Staff
Source: Baltimore Sun
There's a guy you have to know to get the stuff. Isn't there always? You know a little something about him and vice versa, so everything's cool. In hours the feds will put down the hammer and then things will really get tense. This should be easy. A phone call, a short drive, and you make the hemp connection.No time to waste. You drive into a wind-whipped parking lot, slipping into the dim, greasy lamp light, going through the steps again. No surprises pal, not tonight. Save it for your birthday.
You walk into the place through the automatic doors. Look to the left, the right. Cool. Then past the produce section. It all looks better than a picture in a magazine: the peppers, leeks, mangos. The mushrooms you can't pronounce, the olives with names like VIPs at the World Economic Forum. You need shades to protect your eyes from the sheen off the Braeburn apples.No wonder they call it "Fresh Fields."You're running through every detail, including the matter of how it came to this. What's the sense of thinking about it? Just get the stuff. Just find the guy and get the frozen hemp waffles. And the hemp granola. Just put down the cash and don't look at anyone and don't think about how it came to this. It's another score, that's all.How did it come to this?The DEA speaks; you listen or you don't. It's your day in court.The federal word came in October: as THC - a naturally occurring chemical in the plant - gets you high and is illegal, and as no one can say that hemp foods have absolutely no THC, and as there is no allowable THC standard in the United States, then hemp foods also must be illegal.No matter that you can't get high on a trunkload of hemp food. That's not the issue.The DEA calls it an "interpretive ruling." That means, this is what the law says. Until further notice, after Feb. 6, hemp food - not clothing or cosmetics - is verboten. Get it off the shelves. That means anything edible: the hempseed oil, the cookies, cereals, waffles, ice cream, salad dressings, tortilla chips, burgers, snack bars, cheese and whatever else they've cooked up in Hempland.Hemp. It only sounds like one of the Three Stooges. The plant's been raised for centuries. Hemp fans like to talk about how George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew it. During World War II, American farmers grew tons of it, the fibers used for war materials. It's the basis of a huge textile industry and a rather new and tiny U.S. food industry: maybe $7 million in sales a year. Nutritionists say hemp seeds are good for you, rich in protein, vitamin E, amino acids and essential fatty acids.Ah, but check out those leaves. Look familiar? Hemp is but part of a marijuana plant - species name cannabis sativa L. - that's been raised for purposes other than producing dope.There's the rub with hemp. After all, no American's been issued a permit to grow the stuff in 50 years. Food companies have the seeds shipped in, mostly from Canada, but not before they remove the hull, which contains most of the THC, then sterilize the seeds so they can't be cultivated.The details of this story can be daunting: demonstrations on Capitol Hill, a suit in federal court challenging the DEA. Canada's taking up the issue as a NAFTA violation.Never mind all that. You'll stroll into Fresh Fields real casual-like. You'll try not to crack up at the thought of gun-toting narcs rummaging through cases of gluten-free pancake mix looking for hemp veggie burgers. Imagine the patrons' alarm: "How could this happen here in Mount Washington, so far from The Corner?"Tell it to the Family Research Council. The right-wing group figures hemp is a Trojan Drug Mule. Let in the hemp, and you'll soon legalize marijuana.The details go on. They're howling in Hempland.John Roulac, president of a hemp foods company in northern California, is angry, perplexed and bewildered. What's the DEA up to? he asks."Six times in three years they've changed their rules on whether hemp is legal," says Roulac, president of Nutiva. He also claims hemp foods have been seized by federal authorities.Rogene Waite, spokeswoman for the DEA, says she's heard about no such thing. Must have been some other agency, she says."We haven't changed our policy," she says. The October ruling was made only because there were so many questions about hemp, which is not specifically mentioned in federal law.Hemp fans say hemp is to marijuana as, say, animal feed corn is to sweet corn. They say there's at least as much opiate in poppy seeds as THC in hemp seeds. Bad comparison, says Waite, as federal law specifically exempts poppy seeds."What is the hurry?" to ban the foods without hearings, without consulting with the industry, asks David Neuman, VP of sales and marketing with Nature's Path, a hemp foods company based in Vancouver. "Nobody's getting sick or high from it, so why not just wait?"Consider, he says: For purposes of food labels, it took the government 10 years to define "organic."The DEA allowed 90 days to banish hemp foods, unless stores could produce letters saying a product has absolutely no THC. That's the law, says the DEA. Not trace amounts or infinitesimal amounts of the mind-bending agent THC - but none, zip.The guy on the phone says Fresh Fields pulled the stuff early, late on Feb. 5, just to be safe. But ask for the guy when you come in around closing time. Cool.Sure enough, the frozen waffle case reveals the long reach of the DEA. There are LifeStream's Mesa Sunrise, SoyPlus, FlaxPlus, 8 Grain Sesame frozen waffles. But no HempPlus.Be cool. Just find the guy and get the stuff. Don't ask around, not in here. Next thing you know you're facing an ugly harangue about globalization. It's what they say about living on the wrong side of the DEA: So much of the downside is the places you have to go, the people you meet.His employee badge just says "Rob." Mid-range Gen-Xer with a little goatee tuft, black-rimmed Perry Ellis eyeglasses. He's the night manager. 'Scuse us, "shift leader" in Fresh Fields talk.So? The stuff? We talked on the phone?He's off to "the back." So far so good. He's back before you can say "zero tolerance."The package makes a reassuring heft under the arm - must be all those essential fatty acids. The lot's cold and getting colder. Could use something to take the chill off. Wonder if the liquor store's still open?Law: Here's the latest buzz: The DEA has ordered all hemp foods off grocers' shelves. Source: Baltimore Sun (MD) Author: Arthur Hirsch, Sun StaffPublished: February 7, 2002Copyright: 2002 The Baltimore Sun, a Times Mirror NewspaperContact: letters baltsun.comWebsite: Related Articles & Web Site:FTE' s Hemp Links The Munchies Crackdown Users Prepare To Fight DEA Rule Does Homework on Hemp Foods After Rule 
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Comment #8 posted by freedom fighter on February 07, 2002 at 22:52:44 PT
I ate stems from the "evil" cannabis for five days in row before I was forced to take piss test.The pee test came out negative.DEA have just shot the last bullet on the foot. Remember that the DEAth are hoping around with one leg and boy, the foot sure look bloody.Looks like we gotta have to turn the DEAth Agency into D(rug) E(ducation) A(gency), Drug Education Agency instead of Drug Enforcement Agency. ff
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Comment #7 posted by Mr X on February 07, 2002 at 20:36:26 PT
Found out the hard way
"and as no one can say that hemp foods have absolutely no THC"When me and a few of my buddies were driving through Wisconsin, we took this dirt back road that connected 2 highways. We got lost, of course, and soon found oursleves in farm country, we were almost back on the highway when my buddy who was driving stopped and said he swore he saw a bunch of weed growing in a feild we passed.We took some, rolled it, and smoked it.It was hemp.I had a headache for 2 days.
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Comment #6 posted by mayan on February 07, 2002 at 14:58:57 PT
Delaying their Demise
The "Duke of Oil" has to protect his beloved petrochemicals ya' know! They will not recognize a single positive aspect of the cannabis plant because they know that someday soon this plant will be doing everything oil is doing now...only cheaper & cleaner. The petro-brokers can only delay their own demise, or they can progress and join us.
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Comment #5 posted by TroutMask on February 07, 2002 at 11:35:14 PT
The hole in the dike
I agree. The DEA can't afford to give a single inch to marijuana law reform. They can't afford to allow medical marijuana, industrial hemp or hemp for food or any other reasons. The more legitimized hemp becomes in the American eye, the closer is the collapse of the entire War on Some Drugs. BUT, they don't have a breath of a chance of stopping it so all they can do is put up as many roadblocks as possible to slow it down while they hunt for new jobs.-TM
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Comment #4 posted by aocp on February 07, 2002 at 09:39:24 PT
I believe
the drug testing companies themselves said that their tests are so accurate that ingesting hemp foods will not produce a false positive, so i think the dea is just hoping nobody will care as they further demonize every last one of cannabis's good points. (as if there is any other kind)
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on February 07, 2002 at 08:38:56 PT
It's all about drug testing
Even though you don't get high from eating hemp products it can throw a drug test and that's why they are doing this. They don't want anyone to have a loophole if they flunk a drug test in my opinion.
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Comment #2 posted by Dark Star on February 07, 2002 at 08:01:56 PT
Know Your Law
"Bad comparison, says Waite, as federal law specifically exempts poppy seeds."So are hemp seeds, if sterilized. It's been that way since 1937. DEA is merely trying to pull a fast one. 
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Comment #1 posted by Morgan on February 07, 2002 at 07:36:45 PT
Make the connection, Arthur...
C'mon, just a little further... you can do it. A little more research... a little more info... and you too will join us.Or maybe this was as far as you were allowed to go?
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