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For Immediate Release
March 28, 2003

Contact Adam Eidinger / Mintwood Media at (202) 986-6186

DEA FINAL RULE ON HEMP FOODS CHALLENGED
Stay on DEA Rule Continues
Hemp Industry Confident DEA Harassment to End Soon

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — U.S. COURT of APPEALS for the NINTH CIRCUIT On March 21, while most Americans were captivated by the U.S. led invasion of Iraq, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) published their final rules on hemp foods. The new "Final Rule” essentially bans the sale of all hemp food products by April 21, 2003 and is virtually identical to an "Interpretive Rule” issued on October 9, 2001 that never went into effect because of a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Stay issued on March 7, 2002. Today, the Hemp Industries Association and several hemp food and cosmetic manufactures will petition the Ninth Circuit to once again prevent the DEA from ending the legal sale of hemp seed and oil in the U.S.

"The DEA’s charade of supposedly protecting the public from safe and nutritious hemp food is finally going to end,” says David Bronner, Chairman of the Hemp Industry Association’s Food and Oil Committee. "The court is currently hearing a substantive challenge to the "Interpretive Rule,” and in light of the announcement of the "Final Rule,” the hemp industry is optimistic that the Court will ultimately invalidate the DEA’s rule, as one of the prime criteria in granting the Stay was whether the hemp industry is likely to ultimately prevail on the merits of the case,” adds Bronner.

Background on the DEA Hemp Food Fight

Because trace infinitesimal THC (an active ingredient in marijuana) in hemp seed is non-psychoactive and insignificant, the U.S. Congress exempted non-viable hemp seed and oil from control under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) (see 21 U.S.C. §802(16)), just as Congress exempted poppy seeds from the CSA, although they contain trace opiates otherwise subject to control. Hemp seed has a well-balanced protein content and the highest content of essential fatty acids (EFAs) of any oil in nature: EFAs are the "good fats” that, like vitamins, the body does not produce and requires for good health. 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, frozen waffles, 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 $6 million in retail sales.

DEA attempts to ban hemp foods prompted a major public outcry. Over 115,000 public comments were submitted to the DEA against banning hemp food. On December 4, 2001, Vote Hemp, working with students, nutritionists, and hemp manufacturers, organized the first ever "DEA Taste Tests” at DEA offices and natural food stores in 76 cities around the country to educate the public. In 2002, 22 members of Congress wrote the DEA telling the agency that their "Interpretive Rule” that bans edible hemp seed or oil items that contain "any THC” is "overly restrictive.”

Unlike the U.S., other Western countries (such as Canada, Germany and Australia) have adopted rational THC limits for foods, similar to those voluntarily observed by North American hemp food companies which protect consumers with a wide margin of safety from any psychoactive effects or workplace drug-testing interference (see hemp industry standards regarding trace THC at http://www.TestPledge.com). 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 psychoactive "marihuana” varieties, the U.S. is the only major industrialized nation to prohibit the growing and processing 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.

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