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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 industrial hemp.

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 (see http://www.testpledge.com) 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).

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