Marijuana Charge Against Hemp Protesters Dismissed

Marijuana Charge Against Hemp Protesters Dismissed
Posted by FoM on March 28, 2002 at 18:09:41 PT
By John Kekis, Associated Press
Source: Associated Press
Marijuana charges against three protesters were dismissed Thursday after lab tests on pretzels and candy bars made with hemp showed no traces of the psychoactive chemical THC. City Court Judge Langston McKinney threw out the charges against Jennifer Copeland, Patrick Head, and Gerrit Cain. They were arrested Dec. 4 in front of the police station for handing out free samples of the food products. 
Marijuana possession charges were lodged after a deputy took one of the candy bars and a drug field test turned positive for the presence of marijuana. ''We were a little bit shocked,'' said Head, 20, of Basking Ridge, N.J. ''But this certainly raised our profile.'' Subsequent lab tests, however, were negative, and under New York state standards the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, must be found for a case to proceed. ''They realized they didn't have a case,'' attorney Craig Schlanger said. ''It died an early death. The result of this is not precedent setting. Had it gone all the way, it would have been more interesting.'' The three college students were the only people arrested during the protest, which was conducted in 70 cities nationwide. The action was against a new federal regulation over edible hemp products. ''It was a bad arrest in the first place. Only here in Syracuse,'' said Nick Eyle, executive director of ReconsiDer, part of a national coalition that wants drug laws reformed. ''The whole thing is so silly because hemp is a separate plant from marijuana. You can smoke a field of this stuff and you're not going to get high. They were giving away legally manufactured products. It's crazy. It shows to some extent the hysteria surrounding drugs in this country.'' Three weeks ago in San Francisco, a federal appeals court temporarily blocked a Drug Enforcement Administration rule banning the sale of food made with hemp. Hemp is an industrial plant grown outside the United States that is related to marijuana. Fiber from the plant long has been used to make paper, clothing, rope and other products. Its oil is found in body-care products such as lotion, soap and cosmetics and in several foods, including energy bars, waffles, tortilla chips, milk-free cheese, veggie burgers, salad oil and bread. In October, the DEA declared that food products containing even trace amounts of THC, which sometimes is found in hemp, were banned under the Controlled Substances Act. The DEA ordered a halt in the production and distribution of all goods containing THC that were intended for human consumption. It ordered all such products to be destroyed or removed from the United States by March 18. But the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the government could not enforce the new law until the court rules on challenges to it. The appeals court tentatively is set to hear arguments on the case April 8 in San Francisco. Hemp Industries Association v. Drug Enforcement Administration, 01-71662. Source: Associated PressAuthor: John Kekis, Associated PressPublished: March 28, 2002Copyright: 2002 Associated PressRelated Articles & Web Site:ReconsiDer's Hemp Links Tell The DEA They Made a Mistake on Hemp in Foods Draws Protests Seller Goes To Bat Against DEA 
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