For Immediate Release
February 6, 2004
CONTACT: Adam Eidinger 202-232-8997,
Satellite Advisory for Video News Release
Federal Court Rejects DEA Ban
on Hemp Food
Court Tells DEA it Cannot Regulate
Naturally-Occurring THC in Hemp Food
Landmark Decision Opens Way
for Expansion of Hemp Food Industry
SAN FRANCISCO, CA — U.S.
COURT of APPEALS for the NINTH CIRCUIT —
Industries Association (HIA), representing over
200 hemp companies in North America won their 2 1/2-year
old lawsuit today against the Drug Enforcement Administration
(DEA) in a decision
that permanently blocks DEA regulations that attempted
to ban nutritious hemp foods such as waffles, bread,
cereal, vegetarian burgers, protein powder, salad dressing
and nutrition bars.
"The decision in HIA v. DEA is a
huge boost to the hemp food market, and we expect to
see many more hemp food products on store shelves,"
says David Bronner, maker of the AlpSnack®
organic hemp nutrition bar and Chair of the HIA Food
and Oil Committee. "The three judge panel agreed
with our main argument that the DEA's 'Final Rule' ignores
Congress's specific exemption in the Controlled Substances
Act (CSA) under the definition of marihuana that excludes
hemp seed and oil from control along with hemp fiber.
Based on today's decision, the court reasonably views
trace insignificant amounts of THC in hemp seed in the
same way as it sees trace amounts of opiates in poppy
seeds," says Bronner.
A Video News Release (VNR) will be broadcast
via satellite for free and unrestricted use. The 15-minute
VNR contains footage of popular hemp food products and
the manufacturing process; statements from nutritionist
Dr. Andrew Weil; and key background on the landmark
Broadcast times: 3:45PM EASTERN TIME, 4:15 PM EST
Broadcast Date: Today! 2-6-2004
Downlink Freq: 11896
Vertical and Audio 6.1 and 6.8
For tech assistance, call Julia at 800-354-6397
Background on the Hemp Food Court
Today's Ninth Circuit decision permanently
invalidates the DEA's "Final Rule," issued
on March 21, 2003, that was virtually identical to an
"Interpretive Rule" issued by the DEA on October
9, 2001 that was invalidated by a Ninth Circuit court
order issued on June 30, 2003. Click
here to view the Ninth Circuit ruling.
In today's decision, Judge Betty Fletcher
wrote, "[T]hey (DEA) cannot regulate naturally-occurring
THC not contained within or derived from marijuana-i.e.
non-psychoactive hemp is not included in Schedule I.
The DEA has no authority to regulate drugs that are
not scheduled, and it has not followed procedures required
to schedule a substance. The DEA's definition of "THC"
contravenes the unambiguously expressed intent of Congress
in the CSA and cannot be upheld."
During the final oral
arguments held in San Francisco on September 17,
2003, the HIA argued that the DEA's "Final Rule"
banning nutritious hemp foods misinterprets the CSA.
The judges were completely unconvinced by DEA attorney
Daniel Dormont's arguments that Congress did not exempt
hemp seed from the CSA even if the seed contains insignificant
amounts of naturally-occurring THC, according to the
hearing transcript available here.
Dormont was read back the section of the
CSA dealing with the hemp seed exemption on three occasions
by Judge Alex Kozinski. By the third reading, a frustrated
Kozinski stated "SŲ I tried to say it once before.
What this tells me is Congress knew full well that stalks
and seeds and fiber could be carriers of some level
of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). They were aware of that.
Nevertheless, it said unless you do the extracting part
they are not marihuana under the definition. That is
what it says to me." Near the end of the DEA's
arguments, Judge Kozinski asked Dormont, "Can you
tell me how you are going to save the [poppy seed] bagel?"
The question drew laughter from the packed courtroom,
but is a serious issue considering that the irrational
logic behind the DEA's attempted hemp food ban could
easily be applied to poppy seed bagels.
DEA Admitted Hemp Food Does Not
Pose Any Harm, Leading Nutritionist Agrees
During final arguments, the DEA acknowledged
that hemp foods have no abuse potential, stating "The
concern of the Drug Enforcement Administration isn't
particularized to the particular products that these
Petitioners make. The DEA has never said, has never
focused on the particular products and said anyone can
get high from them, or that they pose a harm to people."
According to Nutritionist and best selling author Dr.
Andrew Weil, "There is absolutely no health
concern about trace amounts of THC in Hemp foods. I
think the federal court decision is great."
Public Outrage Against DEA Attempted
In regard to widespread outrage over the
DEA's "Final Rule" — 115,000 public
comments, a letter from the Canadian government, and
a letter from Congress co-signed by 22 Representatives
submitted to DEA opposed to the hemp food ban —
Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Mary Schroeder asked the DEA:
"Did you take into account the objections of people
who might say that this doesn't make a lot of sense?"
Dormont admitted the rule "wasn't popular."
Protests were organized by Vote
Hemp against DEA's attempts to ban hemp foods. In December
2001 and again in April 2003, at more than 50 DEA offices
nationwide, activists gave away hemp foods, poppy seed
bagels and orange juice that contain trace THC, opiates
and alcohol respectively to highlight the absurdity
of DEA's rules. These "Hemp Food Taste Tests"
generated public outrage and forced former DEA Administrator
Asa Hutchinson to debate Vote Hemp Director Eric Steenstra
on National Public Radio.
Eating Hemp Food Does Not Cause
Failed Drug Tests
U.S. hemp food companies voluntarily observe
reasonable THC limits similar to those adopted by European
nations as well as Canada and Australia. These limits
protect consumers with a wide margin of safety from
workplace drug-testing interference (see hemp industry
standards regarding trace THC at www.testpledge.com).
The DEA has hypocritically not targeted food manufacturers
for using poppy seeds (in bagels and muffins, for example)
even though they contain far higher levels of trace
opiates. The recently revived 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 psychoactive
"marihuana" varieties, the U.S. is the only
major industrialized nation to prohibit the growing
of industrial hemp.
Hemp Companies React to Ninth
Circuit Court Ruling
“We are very excited that our best-selling
Organic Hemp Plus Granola Cereal® and our LifeStream
Natural Hemp Plus Waffels® will continue to be available
in thousands of stores nationwide,” says Arran
Stephens, President and Founder of Nature’s
“DEA was foolish to try to ban hemp seed because
it is a rich source of protein, dietary fiber, minerals,
iron, vitamin E, and a near perfect composition of essential
fatty acids - Omega 3 and 6,” says Lynn Gordon,
President of French
Meadow Bakery which sells Healthy Hemp Bread®.
“We expect sales to increase enormously as result
of the court ruling.”
“Nutiva's organic hemp bars and
protein powder can finally be sold without concern over
its legality,” says John Roulac, President of
“Vegetarians everywhere should celebrate this
court ruling,” says Ken Holmes, co-founder of
Harvest. “People have a right to eat our nutritious
Hemp Power Bar, Hemp Protein, Hemp Oil and Hemp Seed
“The decision will boost demand
for our bulk and private label oil and seed products,
as well as retail brand hemp food and body care products
,” says Shaun Crew, President of Hemp
“The court ruling will jumpstart
sales of our new meatless Omega Burgers® made from
organic hemp seed,” Ruth Shamai, President of
“This decision now allows consumers
to vote with there dollars. Healthy hemp food products
like Hemp Seed Oil and Hemp Seed Nut (shelled hemp seed)
are available now at major retailers like Whole Foods
Market,” says Michael Fata, Manitoba
Harvest Hemp Foods & Oils.
Hemp Foods are Safe and Nutritious
— DEA Rules Were Ridiculous!
Hemp seed is one of the most perfect sources
for human nutrition in all of nature. In addition to
its excellent flavor profile, the seed meat protein
supplies all essential amino acids in an easily digestible
form and with a high protein efficiency ratio. Hemp
oil offers high concentrations of the two essential
fatty acids (EFAs) in a perfect ratio of the omega-3/omega-6
acids. EFA's are the "good fats" that doctors
recommend as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
This superior nutritional profile makes
shelled hempseed and oil ideal for a wide range of functional
food applications and as an effective fatty acid supplement.
Not surprisingly, shelled hempseed and oil are increasingly
used in natural food products, such as bread, nutrition
bars, hummus, nondairy milks, meatless burgers and cereals.
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 202-232-8997.