For Immediate Release
April 22, 2003
Contact Adam Eidinger / Mintwood
Media at (202) 986-6186
DEA Employees Take Hemp Food
Taste Test in 65 Cities
Americans 'Just Say No' to DEA Attempts to Ban
Hemp Food Products
VA — DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION HEADQUARTERS
— Hemp enthusiasts gave away
hemp food products at Drug Enforcement Administration
(DEA) offices in 65 cities today to protest attempts
by the federal government to ban the increasingly popular
food. Vote Hemp organized the "DEA Hemp Food Taste
Tests" on the day a new "Final Rule"
was supposed to take effect. The rule would have banned
human consumption of hemp foods sold in thousands of
stores. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the
rule last week when they granted a stay of the ban at
the request of about 250 U.S. and Canadian hemp companies
who have filed suit against the DEA.
Initial reports from Taste Tests around
the country confirm that skeptical DEA employees tried
samples of hemp pretzels served with hemp mustard, along
with hemp energy bars, hemp butter, toasted hemp seed
— to name a few items. One employee
at DEA headquarters in Arlington, VA commented, "mmm,
that's good stuff." Eric Steenstra, President of
Vote Hemp says, "We gave DEA employees a chance
to taste what they would have been missing if their
ban succeeded. They need to know there is nothing dangerous
or deceptive about hemp food. Trying to ban hemp foods
is as ridiculous as a ban on poppy seeds because they
contain trace amounts of opiates or banning orange juice
because it contains alcohol."
Hemp seed has a well-balanced protein
content and the highest amount 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 to over $6 million in annual retail
The new "Final Rule," issued
on March 21, 2003, is virtually identical to an "Interpretive
Rule" issued on October 9, 2001 that never went
into effect because of a Ninth Circuit Stay issued on
March 7, 2002. On March 28, 2003 the Hemp
Industries Association (HIA), as well as the Organic
Consumers Association petitioned the Ninth Circuit
to once again prevent the DEA from ending the legal
sale of hemp seed and oil products in the U.S. Hemp
advocates say that the public and Congress need to hear
from outraged citizens.
The DEA's previous attempts to ban hemp
foods prompted a major public outcry. Over 115,000 public
comments were submitted to the DEA against their new
rules. In 2002, 25 members of Congress wrote the DEA
telling the agency that their "Interpretive Rule"
that attempts to ban edible hemp seed or oil products
containing "any THC" is "overly restrictive."
North American 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 any psychoactive effects or workplace drug-testing
interference (see hemp industry standards regarding
trace THC at http://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, with
retail sales of over $250 million worldwide, 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.
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.