Food Fight: DEA Cracks Down on Hemp Foods

Food Fight: DEA Cracks Down on Hemp Foods
Posted by FoM on February 07, 2002 at 09:15:23 PT
By Oliver Libaw
The government is cracking down on hemp foods, which has some involved in the hemp industry fuming, and others grumbling about what they see as a needless change in policy. A new interpretation of federal drug laws went into effect Wednesday, outlawing foods with even trace amounts of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. "If the product does cause THC to enter the human body, it is an illegal substance that may not be manufactured, sold, or consumed in the United States," the Drug Enforcement Administration explains on its Web site. 
"Such products include 'hemp' foods and beverages that contain THC."Hemp  the stalks and seeds of a variety of marijuana plant that contains very low levels of THC  is used for everything from clothing, backpacks, cosmetics, beer, breads, burgers, cheese, chips and chocolate bars to paper goods and textiles. Defending Hemp Hemp-containing foods can be completely THC-free, and therefore not in violation of drug laws. But the DEA announcement has caused confusion, some hemp-foods makers say. "Everybody's saying 'all hemp foods,'" laments Mary Munat, the sales and marketing director for HempNut, a hemp-based foods producer. "We're getting brokers and distributors threatening to drop us." The company's products, which include snack bars, corn chips and cookies, contain hemp because it is healthy and environmentally friendly, she says, not because of trace amounts of THC."Hemp foods are an ancient plant protein source," she says. "It's also a wonderful source of essential fatty acids."The Wild Oats supermarket chain, which carries a small number of hemp foods, such as hemp chips and hemp peanut butter, says the DEA clarification won't stop it from stocking the products."We've gone back to our vendors and they've provided the test results" showing their products are THC-free, says Sonja Tuitele, a Wild Oats spokeswoman."We want to support our customers' choice, and hemp is an industry that we do support," she says. "It's a very sustainable crop  It's really good for organic farming, which we strongly support." Hemp Has a Bad Rap, Activists Say Other hemp supporters, such as Frank Angiuli, owner of Natural High Lifestyle, a hemp-themed store in Los Angeles, say the DEA move is just one more example of the unfair persecution of the crop. "Basically what's going on is the U.S. government is making it more difficult for industrial hemp to be embraced as a commodity," he says. "People automatically assume if you're pro-hemp, you're pro-marijuana."The DEA says it issued the clarification because of its ongoing campaign against marijuana and THC."There is not a change, we are just providing the public a clear interpretation of what the Controlled Substance Act says," a DEA spokeswoman insists. "The DEA has always been concerned with marijuana; it's a Class 1 controlled substance, along with heroin and cocaine." The Department of Justice under the Clinton administration had decided that hemp products with traces of THC would be allowed as long as they had no psychoactive effects and they were not marketed as if they had. ABCNews' Beverley Lumpkin contributed to this report.Note: Despite Negligible Content of THC.Source: ABCNews.comAuthor: Oliver LibawPublished: February 7, 2002Copyright: 2002 ABC News Internet VenturesWebsite: Articles & Web Site:FTE' s Hemp Links Aisle 7 for War on Drugs Munchies Crackdown
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Comment #1 posted by aocp on February 07, 2002 at 09:33:55 PT
The DEA has always been concerned with marijuana; it's a Class 1 controlled substance, along with heroin and cocaine.What is a "Class 1"? I thought there were schedules or something. Class 1 must mean it's reeeeaaaalllly eeeeeevvvviillllll!! Otherwise, if they went by what the LAW says, cocaine, i believe, is a Schedule II drug. Man, the morons of journalism in this country will lap up just about anything.
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