For Immediate Release
June 26, 2003
Contact Zoe Mitchell or Adam Eidinger
Mintwood Media at (202) 986-6186
Two-Year Court Fight
Over Hemp Foods in Final Stages
Hemp Industries Association Files Brief to Keep
Hemp Foods Legal
SAN FRANCISCO, CA — U.S.
COURT of APPEALS for the NINTH CIRCUIT —
On Tuesday, June 24, the Hemp
Industries Association (HIA), which represents the
interests of the Hemp Industry and encourages the research
and development of new hemp products, filed a brief
in the Ninth Circuit asking for a review of the Drug
Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) “Final
Rule” regarding hemp foods. If this new “Final
Rule” were to take effect, it would ban hemp seed
and oil and consequently destroy the multimillion dollar
hemp food industry. Due to a Court ordered Stay, hemp
foods remain perfectly legal to import, sell and consume
while the Court hears arguments from the HIA and DEA
and renders a decision.
The HIA brief charges that the DEA’s
“Final Rule” should be invalidated because
the agency is exercising arbitrary and capricious authority
by attempting to outlaw hemp seed and oil without holding
formal hearings on the issue or finding any potential
for abuse. Because trace infinitesimal THC in hemp seed
is non-psychoactive and insignificant, Congress exempted
non-viable hemp seed and oil from control under the
Controlled Substances Act (CSA), just as Congress exempted
poppy seeds from the CSA, although they contain trace
opiates otherwise subject to control. The brief also
charges that the DEA acted in an arbitrary and capricious
manner in exempting hemp seed mixed with animal feed,
although Congress made no such distinction in the CSA.
Additionally, the brief elucidates other
major failures by the DEA — namely, the lack of
hearings on this issue and the failure to comply with
the Regulatory Flexibility Act, which requires assessing
effects of the proposed change on small businesses.
The brief is available as a PDF at:
Final Legal Schedule in Hemp Food
• July 24, 2003: Deadline for
the DEA’s response to HIA brief.
• August 8, 2003: Deadline for
the HIA’s reply to DEA’s response.
• September 17, 2003: Oral Arguments
begin in San Francisco.
• ??: Final Ruling expected late
2003, or early 2004.
The “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 HIA, several hemp food and cosmetic manufacturers
and 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., and
on April 16, 2003, the Ninth Circuit again issued
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 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.