Get Your Fill of Hemp While It's Still Legal

Get Your Fill of Hemp While It's Still Legal
Posted by FoM on December 12, 2001 at 09:54:17 PT
By Jim Stingl
Source: Journal Sentinel 
As I sit here writing this, I'm gnawing on a Ruth's Hemp & Trail Creative Energy Bar. That's right, Cheech, I'm eating pot seeds at my desk in the interest of scientific research. I want to see if I can finish the whole column without forgetting the topic or drifting away in search of Pink Floyd and Oreos.As of Feb. 6, possessing this same bar will be a federal crime. The Drug Enforcement Administration has decided that it's not spending enough energy and money already chasing after people with marijuana.
Hemp refers to the stalk and sterilized seeds of the cannabis plant. Even though hemp food products contain negligible levels of THC, the get-you-stoned ingredient in pot, your government now is classifying such goodies as hemp coffee, salad oil, veggie burgers and even hemp beer ("tastes great . . . less filling . . . causes and quenches cottonmouth with every swig") as Schedule 1 controlled substances.Hemp shampoo will remain legal unless you're drinking it. You also may continue to feed hemp seed mixtures to the birds that you've come to enjoy watching fly sideways. For now, hemp clothing and those popular bracelets and necklaces may be worn without fear of incarceration.When I called the DEA to ask if this was as preposterous as it seems, I was referred to their Web site. Under frequently asked questions, I couldn't find, "Is this as preposterous as it seems?"But here's a quote from DEA Administrator Asa Hutchinson: "Many Americans do not know that hemp and marijuana are both parts of the same plant and that hemp cannot be produced without producing marijuana." To drive home this point, the Web site includes photographs of what appears to be killer weed, some real High Times centerfolds.So far I'm not feeling any effects from this hemp bar, except a vague desire to throw it away and get some real food. This must be an extremely healthy snack because it tastes lousy.Or maybe I have a psychological block to swallowing stuff that looks like it was vacuumed from the shag carpet after parties I heard about but, of course, never attended in the 1970s. Takin' It To The Streets  I got the energy bar from a group of college students - and one middle-aged insurance company worker carrying a sign saying "Let me eat hemp" - who spent their lunch hour the other day protesting the ban outside a building at State and Water streets where the DEA spends its days thinking up rules like this.This should come as encouraging news to the DEA: It's tough to give away hemp snacks and even tougher to get people to eat them on the spot, even though hemp supposedly is high in essential and yummy fatty acids. Most people just said no."It doesn't suck," said Tracy Sperl, 44, the only person I saw who took a bite. "But if I had my choice between this and a chocolate-chip cookie, I'd take the chocolate-chip cookie."She was not impressed by hemp among the ingredients. "You can get it at Pick 'n Save. They have an organic food section," she said.The Pick 'n Save corporate office didn't return my call to verify this. But if you see armed government agents massing in one of their stores after Feb. 6, you might want to toss the hemp oil out of your cart and refrain from giggling.The earnest young people on the street were members of Students for a Sensible Drug Policy at UW-Milwaukee. They were exercising their free-speech rights as part of a nationwide day of action to challenge the DEA ban.The government might just as well outlaw poppy-seed rolls and orange juice, which contain trace amounts of opiates and alcohol, respectively, the students said. The ban will hurt those who make their living in the rapidly growing hemp food industry and their customers.Amid war and terrorism fears, you may not care much about this issue. But if I put this uneaten half of a Hemp & Trail Bar in my desk drawer and forget about it till February, I could wind up in federal prison, where they probably don't even have Oreos.Appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Dec. 12, 2001.Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)Author: Jim StinglPublished: December 12, 2001Copyright: 2001 Milwaukee Journal SentinelContact: jsedit onwis.comWebsite: Related Articles & Web Sites:SSDP's Hemp Links on Trace Elements of Hemp in Food Bans Some Hemp Products Beginning Feb. 6 
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