Seeds of Discord

Seeds of Discord
Posted by FoM on October 30, 2001 at 07:38:00 PT
By Jacob Sullum 
Source: Reason Magazine
It turns out that hand cream I bought at The Body Shop a few years ago was a controlled substance. But itís not anymore. Probably.This is the upshot of two rules recently unveiled by the Drug Enforcement Administration. The first announced that all products containing the slightest trace of THC, marijuanaís main active ingredient, are prohibited Schedule I substances.
This came as a surprise to the dozens of companies that for years have been openly selling products made from cannabis fiber, seeds, or oil. Such "hemp" products, which include clothing, snacks, nutritional supplements, and toiletries, may contain tiny amounts of THC, but not enough to get anyone high. The second DEA rule declared that THC-tainted hemp products not intended for internal consumption are exempt from the ban provided that "using them does not cause THC to enter the human body." The DEA is pretty sure that "personal care Ďhempí products" such as hand cream, soap, and shampoo qualify for the exemption, although it is "unaware of any scientific evidence definitively answering this question."But edible hemp products--including dietary supplements as well as pasta, tortilla chips, candy bars, salad dressings, veggie burgers, cheese, ice cream, and beer--are in the same legal category as heroin. According to the DEA, they have been since 1970. Itís just that no one realized it until now.When Congress banned marijuana in 1937, it specifically exempted nonpsychoactive parts of the cannabis plant used to make products such as rope and industrial lubricants. That exemption was carried over into the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, which at the same time banned "any material, compound, mixture, or preparation which contains any quantity of...Tetrahydrocannabinols [THC]."Congress apparently did not realize what todayís highly sensitive chemical analyses show: THC is present, albeit in tiny amounts, throughout the plant, not just in the buds and leaves. But that should not have been a problem, because the DEAís own regulations defined THC as "synthetic equivalents of the substances contained in the plant."The DEA itself cites two court cases supporting the assumption that the prohibition does not cover natural traces of THC in parts of the plant that are excluded from the definition of marijuana. If it did, many products that are not drugs by any stretch of the imagination--including paper, bird seed, and textiles--would be illegal.The DEA nevertheless decided that is what the law demands, despite clear evidence that itís not what Congress intended. To make the result look slightly less silly, the DEA is allowing nonedible hemp products to remain on the market, even though its interpretation of the statute does not permit such a distinction. The DEAís ban can be understood partly as a knee-jerk reaction against anything associated with marijuana, even if it has nothing to do with intoxication. But the most plausible explanation for focusing on foods, beverages, and nuritional supplements is the concern that such products can interfere with drug testing.Researchers have found that people who donít smoke pot but consume hemp seed oil may test positive for marijuana. After a sergeant who used the oil as a dietary supplement was acquitted of marijuana charges in 1997, the Air Force ordered its personnel to stay away from the stuff. "Such applications for human consumption are confounding our Federal drug control testing program," then-drug czar Barry McCaffrey complained last year.The American Association of Medical Review Officers, which represents drug testing specialists, has been warning for years that government-mandated urinalysis could be overturned on constitutional grounds because hemp products make the results unreliable. "Products that cause a positive THC urinalysis must be removed from commerce," said a 1997 editorial in the organizationís journal, "or we will be forced by the courts to stop testing for marijuana."This is rather like demanding the prohibition of poppy seeds, which also can generate false positives in drug tests. Instead, the onus should be on the drug testing industry to improve its methods. A 2000 study by Leson Environmental Consulting in Berkeley, California, found that the consumption of hemp seed oil should not confound properly conducted tests.In any case, the concern about drug testing could be addressed by setting a legal cutoff for THC in edible hemp products, as Canada has done. But that would require congressional debate and legislation. Itís so much easier to decree the result you want and pretend that nothing has really changed.Jacob Sullum's weekly column is distributed by Creators Syndicate. If you'd like to see it in your local newspaper, write or call the editorial page editor. Source: Reason Magazine (US) Author: Jacob Sullum Published: October 30, 2001 Copyright: 2001 The Reason Foundation Email: letters Website: Articles & Web Site:FTE's Hemp Links Hemp Archives Rules Ban Edible Hemp Products Plan Could Hamper Hemp Retailer
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Comment #5 posted by mayan on October 30, 2001 at 13:51:26 PT
Hemp or Death
The United States is the only industrialized nation that doesn't grow hemp. We also pollute far more than any other nation. It's no wonder that the rest of the world thinks of us as pigs. Things will never change with the "Duke of Oil" at the helm.Save Hemp!
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Comment #4 posted by JR Bob Dobbs on October 30, 2001 at 10:31:31 PT
Question about hemp brand
  This is sort of off-topic, but I've been wondering recently... A while back, I remember hearing on the 4:20 News about a hemp hair-care product which had a lot of promotion and seemed to be down with the cause, and then it turned out the product had the smallest amount of hemp possible in it, and they were selling it at the inflated prices and giving a portion of the proceeds to the Parents for a Drug-Free America. Does anyone else remember this? I need to know which product this was/is, if it's still on the market, and perhaps a link to the original story if it's still online. Thanks!  PS: I highly reccomend going to your local health food store and buying some hemp-seed oil while you still can. Who would have thought buying cooking oil could be a political act?
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Comment #3 posted by bruce42 on October 30, 2001 at 09:57:10 PT
from the post aritcle:"...Hutchinson said that the agency will not slow its efforts to combat illegal sales and abuse but that the nation should focus on education about abuse. He said doctors unwittingly misprescribe the drugs or illegally dole them out. "We want doctors to understand that they need to use good judgment," Hutchinson said...."So Asa, how about the DEA using some common sense. MJ is schedule I why? Hemp is banned why? Your agents bust down the doors of organizations protected under state law why? Get real Asa. These docs learn from the best. Keep the drug market safely in the arms of the black market.Go f**k yourself Asa.
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Comment #2 posted by Jose Melendez on October 30, 2001 at 09:15:02 PT:
DEA Backs Medical Use of OxyContin 
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Comment #1 posted by fivepounder on October 30, 2001 at 08:09:35 PT
our government
DEA sucks.
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