Hemp Burns Out 

Hemp Burns Out 
Posted by FoM on November 23, 2001 at 07:49:37 PT
By Marty Jones 
Source: Westword
For seven years, the hemp ice cream produced in Das Agua's shop, Original Sources, made him a successful businessman. Today it makes him a criminal. Created with "milk" made from the ground seeds of industrial hemp -- marijuana's low-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) sister plant -- Agua's Hemp I Scream may now be a controlled substance, thanks to an October 9 ruling by the Drug Enforcement Administration that deems illegal any foods containing even a trace of THC, pot's psychoactive ingredient. 
The ruling delivered a heavy hit to Original Sources and other companies across the country that are active in the hemp-foods trade. "That was the DEA's attack on our twin towers," Agua says. "It's a terrorist attack on hemp, to try and frighten away the profitability of this wonderful industry. Hemp foods are a great way for people to be more healthy, more wholesome." The hemp industry has grown steadily over the past decade, with businesses making fuel, fabric, paper, even auto parts from hemp imported into the U.S. Highly nutritious, sterilized hemp seeds -- cleansed of their outer skins, which may contain minuscule amounts of THC -- are used for the production of hemp foods, from tortilla chips and snack bars to flour, milk and baked goods. These seeds have been a legal food source for decades, thanks to the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act and numerous other federal rulings. Although Agua and other hemp-food producers say their products consistently test negative for THC, the DEA's new zero-tolerance ruling creates problems. "In science, there is no such thing as zero anymore," says John Roulac, spokesman for Nutiva, a California company that's one of the nation's largest makers of hemp-based foods. "The DEA needs to establish protocols and standards for testing." Eric Steenstra, an attorney who heads up the legal team for Vote Hemp, a collective of hemp-industry groups, agrees. "How many zeroes do you measure down to?" he wonders. "The DEA has never specified. But they have the ability to measure to an infinitesimal amount, and the cost to test to their standards would be astronomical for our industry." This is not the first time that DEA policy shifts have hammered hemp foods. Two years ago, the Boulder Hemp Company was one of the nation's fastest-growing hemp-foods makers, thanks to a line of popular tortilla chips. That boom ended when the DEA seized a shipment of Canadian-grown seeds containing trace amounts of THC and threatened hemp-food makers with similar seizures of their source materials ("Hemp Takes a Hit," January 27, 2000). "I lost a good half-million dollars of investment money that walked away because of the DEA," Kathleen Chippi, Boulder Hemp Company's owner, says today. The DEA eventually released the seeds under pressure from the Department of Justice, U.S. Customs and pro-hemp supporters. (According to the seeds' producer, the Kenex Company of Canada, you would have had to consume the entire truckload to catch a buzz.) Still, Chippi put her operation on hold until the federal government made a final ruling on the legal status of her business. "We're happy that after two years, they've finally come to a conclusion," she says, "but the conclusion they came to is insane. Hemp foods are basically illegal in this country now." The DEA is giving hemp-food makers 120 days to destroy any inventory that is not in compliance with the new ruling. After February 6, any producers and retailers caught with such foods will be considered in possession of controlled substances. "THC is a controlled substance; it is a drug," says DEA spokesman Will Glaspy, "so foods containing controlled substances would be illegal." The recent ruling was designed to "clear things up for some people," he adds, not as an attempt to change the status quo. "Would you feel comfortable with kids eating candy bars with trace amounts of heroin?" Glaspy asks. "I don't think anybody would." Roulac doesn't put much stock in the DEA's argument. The government, he notes, "is putting more arsenic in our water than they could ever find of THC in our products. You're allowed parts per million of bug parts in cereal." He suggests that the DEA's ruling has more to do with staying in business than with protecting consumers, since illegal hemp gives the DEA more to do and more money with which to do it. "Industrial hemp for food has never been illegal in the United States," Roulac says. "The DEA is attempting to change policy with no due process, no hearings, no cooperation with the industry affected." Last month, Vote Hemp filed suit in California's federal court, requesting a stay of the DEA's ruling; that case is scheduled to be heard in February 2002. According to Steenstra, the ruling violates existing legal protections of hemp seeds and the foods made from them; it also violates procedural requirements that call for congressional hearings and public comment. Steenstra's team plans to push for a THC testing standard and will argue whether hemp foods should be banned at all. In the meantime, Vote Hemp is asking supporters to take advantage of the sixty-day public-comment window included in the DEA's ruling and send their comments to the agency ( by December 9. "One day the products are legal, the next day they're not," Steenstra says. "If DEA's mandate is to stop drugs from flowing into the United States, what the hell are they doing chasing after a bunch of legitimate companies offering a safe, highly nutritious product to the public?" Chippi isn't waiting for an answer: She's decided to get out of the hemp-foods business for good. One anticipated benefit: fewer unwanted visitors at her home in the mountains west of Boulder. "Black unmarked helicopters," she explains. "They come and hover 300 feet over my house." And Agua, who peddled his first quarts of hemp ice cream to fans attending a Grateful Dead show at McNichols Arena in 1994 ("I sold everything I had in a snowstorm," he recalls), may move his business from Colorado to Canada if hemp-industry leaders and the government can't work out a settlement. "I'm considering the actions appropriate for me," he says. "I'm hopeful things can get growing again." But should his current line remain illegal, he's considering a new product. "If all else fails," he says, "then we will make another vegan treat: 'Should Be Hemp I Scream,' packaged with lots of hemp information and a call to action." Source: Westword (CO)Author: Marty Jones Published: November 22, 2001Copyright: 2001 New TimesWebsite:'s Hemp Links Hemp Archives Ice Cream Hits Madison
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Comment #5 posted by john wayne on November 23, 2001 at 20:24:58 PT
Why I failed my drug test.
I was in Canada last month and it must've been that hemp salad dressing that I ate. Or those hemp cookies. Maybe it was that hemp shampoo.Soooorry!
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Comment #4 posted by ArsonPerBuilding on November 23, 2001 at 15:33:19 PT:
Hm..Other illegal chems...
Since the DEA is cracking down on THC in foodstuffs, why doesn't it crackdown on DMT in animals. I can see the headlines, 'DEA arrests all american citizens for trafficing controlled substances!' 'Zoos with primates shutdown, for possesion of illegal substances' 
 It seems as pointless to me as cracking down legit businesses that fed families. But our unelected buracrats are too busy with their 'pork' to realize real people.
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Comment #3 posted by mayan on November 23, 2001 at 10:09:31 PT
Exposed By The Light
The DEA ban on hemp food products only sheds more light on the Fed's true agenda. Hemp foods won't get a fly high. Hemp foods won't make you test positive for marijuana. This war on the worlds most versatile plant is the root system for the entire war on drugs. The war on drugs is mainly a war on marijuana. The war on marijuana is actually the prohibition of industrial hemp in disguise. Industrial hemp can do anything petroleum can do & it can do it cheaper & cleaner. Every industrialized nation in the the world recognizes the wonders of this plant & is utilizing it, but America still has it's head in the sand. How long can you survive with your head in the sand Uncle Sam? It is no accident that our President is an oil baron. Save Hemp
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Comment #2 posted by i420 on November 23, 2001 at 09:09:33 PT
I scream...
"Would you feel comfortable with kids eating candy bars with trace amounts of heroin?" Glaspy asks. "I don't think anybody would." What is this moron comparing candy bars laced with heroin to hemp products for?? This is an excuse to ban hemp???
I don't know much about hemp foods but I bet they are more nutricious than candy bars so why wouldn't you want you kid to eat one?????I scream you scream we all scream for FREEDOM !!!!!FREEDOM IS DEAd 
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Comment #1 posted by bruce42 on November 23, 2001 at 08:22:21 PT
"Would you feel comfortable with kids eating candy bars with trace amounts of heroin?" Glaspy asks. "I don't think anybody would."Then I must pose the question- "Would you feel comfortable with kids drinking trace amounts of heavy metals and toxic chemicals in their Kool-Aid?" After all, millions of Americans in this country who still dare to consume city tap water or unfiltered well water do this every day. Or how about mercury contaminated fish? Or air? Has this guy ever considered how many noxious fumes you breathe in when you get blasted by the exhaust stream of a bus? I don't see the goverment knocking down the doors of big tobacco and the big three demanding they remove trce amounts of toxic substances from their products. "Roulac doesn't put much stock in the DEA's argument. The government, he notes, "is putting more arsenic in our water than they could ever find of THC in our products. You're allowed parts per million of bug parts in cereal...."Ding Ding Ding. Give this guy a cookie.At least bugs are good for you.Suddenly a few right thinking adults who take it upon themselves to consume healthy foods that may OR may NOT contain minute (as in whats the point of measuring) amounts of THC is a crisis of such magnitude that it is bringing this nation to its knees. Give me a break! As if our government has no more pressing matters than to put food producers out of business and arrest sick people and doctors. 
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