Court Win Opens Doors for Hemp Food 

Court Win Opens Doors for Hemp Food 
Posted by CN Staff on February 09, 2004 at 18:36:54 PT
By Jon Bonné
Source: MSNBC 
With a court decision last week allowing the sale of foods made with hemp, makers of the natural food products are poised for big growth in a nascent industry."We're jazzed," said John Roulac, president and founder of hemp food maker Nutiva. For the past two years, many retailers have been hesitant to market a range of products from protein powders to bread, for fear of a government crackdown.
But late last week a federal appeals court ruled that the Drug Enforcement Administration cannot prevent sales of hemp foods, dismissing the government's argument that it has the right to regulate food that contains traces of tetrahydrocannibinol (THC). THC is the compound that gives marijuana its psychoactive effects and is a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act, thus illegal for consumption. "It clears up the confusion in the marketplace so retailers and distributors have more confidence to purchase our product," Roulac said.The court said hemp seeds and oil used in food were naturally occurring and weren't considered marijuana, and as such fell outside the definition of a Schedule I drug. Moreover, the court concluded, the DEA tried to change the definition of THC to include food products without following precise federal requirements for reclassifying a drug."The DEA has no authority to regulate drugs that are not scheduled, and it has not followed procedures required to schedule a substance," wrote Judge Betty Fletcher.The plaintiffs -- a coalition of hemp product makers -- spent some $200,000 to bring the case through the federal courts."It's just common sense versus drug-war absurdity," said David Bronner, owner of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, a California company that makes hemp-based beauty products and recently launched a line of hemp nutrition bars. "The DEA's been out there harassing the marketplace."Hemp, its advocates point out, is a cheap and healthy source of protein, fiber and the omega-3 fatty acids of which nutritionists have become so fond in recent years. Its seeds and oil can be turned into a range of products, anything from nutrition bars to shampoo. Of course, it happens to be the same tall, stalky plant that can produce marijuana from its buds -- and the DEA has tried for at least the past two years to bar the sale of food products on the grounds that trace amounts of THC. Hemp used in food is generally sterilized so the plants cannot produce marijuana, and tests of hemp products have found only tiny traces of THC. Though THC can remain in the body for long periods of time, one study concluded that a high-calorie diet of only hemp foods still wouldn't leave enough of the potent chemical to cause a positive result on a drug test.The DEA said it was still reviewing the court's ruling, and had not decided whether to continue fighting to enact the rules. "It's still a little too soon," said spokesman Ed Childress.  Fact File: Hemp: A Durable Plant  Hemp's economic potential is unclear, but its uses are manifold. Food:  The seeds are used to make animal feed and are edible by humans in much the same way as sunflower seeds. They have been made into snacks, cookies, porridge and trail mix. They can be ground into flour and have been used as a grain to make beer.  Oil: The plant's seed is about 30 percent oil, which can be used for cooking, lubrication and medicinal purposes. In Russia, it also was used as a butter. Body care:  The presence of fatty acids in the oil make hemp a useful material for health and beauty products. It has been made into soaps, lotions, creams, shampoo, lip balms and more. At least one major retailer, the Body Shop, sells specialty hemp items as one of its product lines. Household uses: The oil can be used to produce varnishes, resins, paints, detergents and polishes. The fiber can be made into twine. Cloth: The fiber of the hemp plant can be woven, similar to flax, into cloth. It currently is used to produce everything from shirts to quilts. For centuries, hemp was used as a durable fiber for ships' sails. The United States could match its total import of linen fiber, yarn and fabric by planting 40 percent of the acreage used for tobacco fields in hemp, according to USDA estimates.  Paper: Much like wood pulp, hemp can be made into a range of paper products and packaging materials. Synthetics: The cellulose in the plant can be transformed into plastic compounds, caulking and building materials.  Fuel: Through various chemical processes, parts of the plant can be transformed into a charcoal-like substance or refined to produce a gasoline-like fuel. Like most biomass, it also can be transformed into ethanol and similar fuels. Hemp advocates have used hemp-fueled vehicles to prove its viability as a fuel source. Next steps Because a panel of three judges heard the case, the government could ask the full 9th Circuit to review the decision or it could appeal the case to the Supreme Court. It might also try to rewrite the rules to address the issues raised by the judges.And the court's decision is not the first in the case. In June 2003, it granted hemp advocates' request to suspend a 2001 preliminary rule written by the DEA while the case was heard. The most recent ruling, released Friday, voided the agency's final rule, which was released in March 2003.Hemp advocates believe it is unlikely the DEA will appeal, in large part because the judges' decision was unanimous and one judge on the panel, Reagan appointee Alex Kozinski, is a well-respected conservative jurist whose opinions hold sway even with conservative Supreme Court justices.During a Sept. 17, 2003, hearing, Kozinski asked how the DEA's efforts would differ from an attempt to outlaw poppy-seed bagels. The seeds can contain trace amounts of opiates.He also noted that Congress set very specific requirements on which parts of a hemp plant could be considered illegal. "It wasn't acting under the delusion that stalks and seeds don't contain any THC. They were aware that it did contain some. But, nevertheless, they exempted it," he told a DEA lawyer.Hoping for growth The market for hemp products is tiny, perhaps $8 to 10 million, and mostly limited to consumers of organic and natural foods. Some items, like Bronner's soaps or hemp lip balms, would have been largely unaffected by the proposed rule. But the court battle essentially froze the market for hemp foods, which the industry sees as a healthy vegetarian source of key nutrients.Whole Foods, the nation's largest organic retailer, refused to sell hemp products unless manufacturers could guarantee they were completely THC-free, which would have exempted them from the DEA rule. Though the amounts of THC are miniscule, it is nearly impossible to completely remove it from natural hemp foods and cosmetics.Whole Foods spokeswoman Kate Lowery said the company would review the ruling and might return hemp foods to the shelves if they comply with current laws. "There's some products out there that our customers are fond of," she said.Bronner said his efforts to sell his new AlpSnack hemp bars through had been held up because a supplier wouldn't distribute them until the court case had been resolved.Bronner intends to move forward with a new marketing push for his hemp bars, and will soon unveil new flavors like chocolate and coconut-mango-pineapple. "We're going full steam ahead," Bronner said.John Roulac wants to go even further. He sees a strong market for his company's new hemp protein powder, and believes that financial success in the industry would get officials to further ease restrictions on hemp, especially as most raw hemp must currently be imported from Canadian farmers."That’s one thing to say when it’s a guy in a Grateful Dead shirt outside a concert," Roulac said. "It's another thing when there's hundreds of millions of dollars in sales."Note: DEA stymied in effort to limit natural-product sales. Source: MSNBC (US Web)Author: Jon BonnéPublished: February 9, 2004Copyright: 2004 MSNBC InteractiveContact: letters msnbc.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:Cannabis News Hemp Links Vs. DEA Hemp Ruling in PDF Foods Get Court OK Court Limits Ban on Hemp Products of Hemp Foods Win Legal Victory
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on February 16, 2004 at 13:11:24 PT
Hemp Article from Pacific Magazine
FIJI: Hemp an Alternative To SugarMonday, February 16, 2004 The Asian Development Bank is proposing the introduction of Industrial Hemp as an alternative crop to replace the failing sugar industry. In a report released last week, The ADB reported that if the ever-ailing industry failed to retain its previous status as the country's biggest export and foreign currency earner, it would suggest the government legalize industrial hemp in the country. Before the invention of the cotton gin which made cotton harvesting cheaper, hemp was the primary source of fiber for use in ropes and clothing.Industrial Hemp is a variety of cannabis but does not produce the intoxicating marijuana associated with another strain of the plant. Hemp production in Fiji is regarded illegal, but many rural dwellers have been sustaining their livelihood by illegally planting and selling variety of the crop which produces marijuana. The ADB is monitoring the status of the industry in Fiji as the industry's major financial donor it has come up with hemp as an alternative, however the idea has been criticized by members of the public, sugar cane stake holder’s, as well as non government organisations and churches.Fiji Cane Growers Council General Secretary Jag Nath Sami said that it's premature to include an alternative crop for the sugar industry because the restructure is still going on. Sami said sugar industry must not be counted out because the government has committed itself to improve and make it more viable again. Ben Bhagwan, Secretary General of the Fiji Council of Churches said what ever happen hemp must not be an alternative. He said the idea creates more social problems and will increase more economic instability.For the past ten years the Fiji sugar industry enjoyed an exclusive price above the world market price. The current exclusive deal is due to be reviewed in 2007 when it expires. Meanwhile the government has agreed to a $75million guarantee loan to help restructure the industry. The proposal was tabled un-apposed by both members lo the lower house last week. -Daily Post/PNO 
  Pacific Magazine is published monthly by PacificBasin Communications, Inc. Founder: Bruce Jensen. Copyright 2002, 2003 PacificBasin Communications, Inc. Editorial, advertising offices at 1000 Bishop Street. Suite 405, Honolulu HI 96813. Telephone (808) 537-9500. Send all address changes to Pacific Magazine, P.O.Box 913, Honolulu HI 96808 or e-mail pmaddchange
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Comment #14 posted by jose melendez on February 11, 2004 at 06:31:41 PT
food supplement
I think our Illinois attorney friend ought to resubmit his capsule plan to D.E.A. / F.D.A. / etc., along with a filing of documents showing any official obfuscation and likely corruption with the F.T.C./ D.O."J."
"Justice." Right.
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Comment #13 posted by kaptinemo on February 11, 2004 at 05:17:40 PT:
And for folks with cholesterol problems,
(raising hand), cold-pressed hempseed oil is tops at helping to get those nasty ol' LDL's down to manageable levels...with a proper diet, of course. A damn sight safer than the anti-cholesterol drugs that can serious screw up your liver...and which no twenty-year studies have been done on.It's simply awe-inspiring what this plant can do for one's health. And it's *infuriating* to learn that many scores of millions of people could enjoy better health today, right now, but are denied the chance because of prejudice, bigotry, and greed.
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Comment #12 posted by schmeff on February 10, 2004 at 11:37:38 PT
Cold-pressed hemp (seed) oil
Contains all those trendy omega-3 goodies in PERFECT proportion for human nutrition (how do you s'pose that happened?!)I take a tablespoon a day as a general tonic. Tastes nutty. Keep it my 'fridge. Yup.And the Ninth Circuit friggin' FEDERAL COURT says that's cool.
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Comment #11 posted by CorvallisEric on February 10, 2004 at 11:17:25 PT
Very good explanation, I didn't see yours before posting.
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Comment #10 posted by CorvallisEric on February 10, 2004 at 11:11:33 PT
mamawillie (comment 5)
Hemp used in food is generally sterilized so the plants cannot produce marijuana, and tests of hemp products have found only tiny traces of THC.I don't understand the first part at all. To the best of my knowledge (from reading the usual stuff and making judgments about credibility):The only part of the hemp plant commonly used for food is the seeds. In order to be imported legally, hemp seeds must be sterilized so they can't be planted to produce new hemp plants which are illegal to grow in the US regardless of THC content.Hemp seed products contain only trace amounts of THC because: 1) Cannabis seeds of all varieties contain little THC except for the outer covering. 2) Cannabis varieties for food and industrial use (called hemp) contain relatively little THC anywhere in the plant, so presumably their seeds also contain less THC than drug varieties. 3) Most of the remaining THC in hemp seeds will be in the outer hull which (I presume) is removed or can maybe be cleaned off. I'm guessing somewhat on #3.
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Comment #9 posted by schmeff on February 10, 2004 at 10:55:04 PT
Your comment #5: The first sentence is scientifically correct (if you believe marijuana is a scientific term, which it isn't): there are two, possibly three species of cannabis...they all hybridize freely. Low THC varieties are called 'hemp', high THC varieties are recreational/medicinal/marijuana...whatever. Both hemp and marijuana will likely be the same species and genetically 99.9%+ identical. Recreational/medical cannabis was bred from hemp through thousands of years of human selection. We've evolved together.If you were talking about the second sentence, it should read: "Hemp seed used in food is generally sterilized so it can not be used to GROW plants that produce marijuana, and tests of hemp products have found only tiny traces of THC." Hemp and marijuana are being used interchangeably here, obviously hemp seed will grow hemp (a low % THC), but it is still marijuana (see why it makes so much more sense to just say cannabis?) A motivated amatuer could "improve" a hemp strain over several generations...indeed they are doing breeding research in closets and basements and forests and backyards....across the planet.
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Comment #8 posted by Ethan Russo MD on February 10, 2004 at 07:27:51 PT
For neuroprotection: neuropathic pain:
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Comment #7 posted by fearfull on February 10, 2004 at 06:22:10 PT
Off Topic
Someone had recently posted links to 2 or 3 studies addressing cannabis and neuroprotection. Or the user of it to treat neuropathy. I've been searching for those links, but have been unable to locate them again. Could any one please help me out here?
Thanks Fearfull
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Comment #6 posted by TroutMask on February 10, 2004 at 06:03:46 PT
Hemp ice cream is delicious
I tried some hemp ice cream before the DEA started acting even more stupid. It was yummy.-TM
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Comment #5 posted by mamawillie on February 10, 2004 at 05:59:04 PT
Is this wrong?
***Of course, it happens to be the same tall, stalky plant that can produce marijuana from its buds -- and the DEA has tried for at least the past two years to bar the sale of food products on the grounds that trace amounts of THC. Hemp used in food is generally sterilized so the plants cannot produce marijuana, and tests of hemp products have found only tiny traces of THC.***I don't know much about hemp, but isn't this secntence technically wrong? 
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Comment #4 posted by jose melendez on February 10, 2004 at 02:46:43 PT
Could Hempen Ale make a comeback?
Here are some hemp products for sale:
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Comment #3 posted by breeze on February 10, 2004 at 01:51:59 PT
This is great news-
I would like to know- where can I buy some hemp foods? What exactly do they taste like? What food would taste the best? 
Its my theory that if we start buying hemp foods in mass quanity, then maybe they will find out that cannabis is not a bad thing at all!Question is, where can I buy a hemp candybar?
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Comment #2 posted by The GCW on February 09, 2004 at 19:48:40 PT
What is to stop American farmers, now?
Does this mean American farmers can now grow hemp?420Kucinich’s plantform [sic] includes decriminalizing cannabis and regulating it like alcohol. This is more relevant today in light of the Friday Feb. 6, 2004, 9th Federal Circuit Court ruling, (finally) rejecting the DEA’s attempt to outlaw hemp food products. If Kucinich’s plantform allows citizens to grow a few cannabis plants with THC, then it stands to reason American farmers may grow hemp without THC. It is time to reintroduce hemp as a component of American agriculture.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on February 09, 2004 at 18:40:23 PT
Heads Up: Bill Maher on Deborah Norville Tonight
I don't know if anyone is interested but he will be on soon.
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