Hemp Bar Company Under Gun From DEA 

Hemp Bar Company Under Gun From DEA 
Posted by FoM on September 30, 1999 at 16:18:42 PT
By Matt Weiser
Source: The Press Democrat 
A Sebastopol company must forfeit its inventory of hemp-based food products after it was found to contain traces of the active ingredient in marijuana, federal drug enforcement agents said Wednesday.
Sebastopol-based Nutiva says it was on the verge of runaway success with its new hemp-seed-based nutrition bar, a rival for the likes of Powerbar and other snack foods. It had hoped to capitalize on growing public interest in the health benefits of hemp, driven in part by a burgeoning hemp products industry that is largely based in Sonoma County.But now the company is struggling to fend off the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, which has recently focused on the growing trade in hemp seeds for food and health products."This is coming right at a time when our sales are exploding,'' said John Roulac, president of Nutiva. "You can't get high on hemp seeds. People are buying our bar because it tastes great and because of the nutritional benefits.''The Nutiva bar is made in Canada using hemp seeds produced by Kenex Ltd., an Ontario firm that bills itself as North America's leading supplier of industrial hemp products.On Aug. 9, a shipment of Kenex hemp goods was seized in Detroit by U.S. Customs officials, who determined from shipping manifests that the goods did not meet America's zero-tolerance policy for tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the euphoria-producing active ingredient in marijuana, hemp's botanical cousin.THC is a controlled substance under U.S. law and is not allowed in commercial products.The Kenex shipment contained less than 10 parts per million of THC, the allowable limit under Canadian law and an amount the industry says could never produce a marijuana-like "high.'' Nutiva, the broker and importer for Kenex products in the western United States, says nutrition bars made from Kenex seeds are the top-selling hemp-food product in America.In addition to seizing the shipment, which was bound for other U.S. customers, federal officials ordered Kenex to recall 17 earlier shipments of hemp-seed products, including those marketed by Nutiva. The goods must be returned to the Detroit customs office under penalty of a $500,000 fine and possible criminal charges.For decades, the DEA has allowed hemp seeds to be imported to the United States as bird seed if shipments are sterilized so the seeds cannot be germinated into a living plant. Bird breeders and owners have long used hemp seeds as a health supplement for their pets.Hemp seeds do not contain THC, but seeds often pick up the chemical after coming in contact with leaves and stems during harvesting. Most industrial hemp seed undergoes a rigorous cleaning and sterilization process to remove remnants of THC.But Canadian rules permit trace amounts of THC to remain on the seeds at the time of sale, leading to the confusion that resulted in the action by DEA and Customs.Several companies that import hemp seeds from other suppliers said they've experienced no problems at the U.S. border."I think we were just recently aware that the shipments that were coming through did have THC,'' said John Holmes, supervisory special agent with U.S. Customs in Detroit. "At this point, if the hemp seed has THC in it, then it is not allowable into the United States. It is not permissible.''The action is baffling to Roulac and Kenex officials, who have been bringing hemp seed into the United States for months without interruption. "At this point the DEA has chosen to interpret the U.S. law a little differently than it has in the past,'' said Jean Laprise, director of Kenex. "It's basically crippled us. The majority of our business is in the U.S.''Hemp seed is rich in protein and Vitamin E. The shelled seeds are about the size of sunflower seeds and taste similar. In addition to its nutrition bars, Nutiva also markets raw hemp seed used in cooking. It supplies hemp seed to 700 other businesses, including several restaurants in Sonoma County.Candi Penn, a member of the board of directors of the Hemp Industry Association, based in Occidental, said the DEA action against Kenex comes at a critical time for the industry."These products are absolutely legal,'' said Penn, who noted that hemp has grown to a $100 million industry this year, from just $5 million in 1993. "It's a potential for jobs in America. It's baffling to see that they even want to stop it. Federal rules are not keeping pace with reality.''Roulac said he is consulting an attorney as he decides how to respond to the federal order. In the meantime, his products are staying put in his Southern California warehouse."We are looking for another source of hemp seeds, but we could be potentially liable,'' Roulac said. "We've been advised that they may be charging us with importing a controlled substance.''Sep. 30, 1999By MATT WEISERPress Democrat Staff Writer  1998 The Press DemocratNutiva LTD. Pains - E/The Environmental Magazine
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Comment #4 posted by just a thought on October 01, 1999 at 06:27:23 PT
who's smoking what?
I think the DEA's been smoking all that pot they've been confiscating. It seems they're more paranoid then anybody... what next, incarcerating birds who eat the hemp seeds? The horses that use the bedding? Maybe we should lock up all those health nuts in CA for eating those nutrious hempseed bars. Someday the people are going to say 'enough is enough' and revolt against these madmen we've placed in our government. And when we do, I'd like to see all the DEA agents locked up in jail with a manditory minimum of 10 years for each incarceration of an American citizen that they were involved with. They're traitors to the Constitution. They're traitors to Americans. They're criminals... oh, wait, that's what they say about us... reverse psycology???
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Comment #3 posted by kaptinemo on September 30, 1999 at 17:59:43 PT
The Great Hemp Conspiracy, redux
Once again, those who are opposed to people having access to natural products not controlled by huge combines like Archer-Daniel Midlands are using their cat's-paws, the Federal government, to stifle competition.The petrochemical and pharmaceutical companies wrap themselves sanctimoniously in 'ethics' based upon their sick and twisted view of morality (remember "What's good for General Motors is good for America"?)to hide their *real* reason for their repression of a plant and those who use it: the economic competition that hemp products represent would destroy their economic dominance, and therefore, their control of society. And now that there are truly viable alternatives (as represented by hemp products) to their petrochemically based goods, they are trying to - once again, as they did in 1938 - destroy an industry before people can make the connection between the lies told about hemp and marijuana and the truth of their own experience. Once that connection is made by enough people, once enough people realize that the government is withholding from them something vital to their health under the pretense of a sham, they will be pissed. And pissed people have been known to do rash things. Like vote out of office ignorant and/or lying compassionless scumbag politicians. Next year is an election year, folks... hint, hint, hint. 
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Comment #2 posted by Thomas on September 30, 1999 at 17:00:55 PT
I can't believe how freaking paranoid anti-cannabis folk are!! Spending so much money chasing around pot seeds? I just have to sit back and laugh becuase I don't know how else to react.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on September 30, 1999 at 16:38:59 PT:
Related Article From Nutiva's Web Site
DEA Seizes Tractor Trailer of Legal Hempseed Products From Canada.Agency also demands instant recall of granola bars, horse bedding and other products. Items "clearly exempt" under U.S. Law, say manufacturers.Sebastopol, California The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has seized a tractor trailer of sterilized Canadian hemp seed on its way to a large U.S. company that has been selling hemp birdseed blends for years. Following the August 9th seizure, U.S. Customs and the DEA demanded that Kenex, Canada's leading producer and processor of industrial hemp products, recall previous shipments of other hemp products such as oil, granola bars, horse bedding and animal feed. These actions were taken even though all of the products are clearly exempt under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act since 1937 and many have been sold in the U.S. for 60 years.The DEA, after repeated requests, refuses to provide any legal basis for the confiscation. Kenex's president, Jean Laprise says, "Kenex, along with many other U.S. companies are suffering irreparable damage due to the illegal actions taken by the DEA and US Customs. It seems the DEA could be spending the U.S. taxpayer's drug war money in better ways than chasing after bird seed and horse bedding."U.S. Customs is threatening nearly $500,000 in fines against Kenex if their recall of granola bars, oil, animal feed, and other products are not redelivered to Detroit Customs in the next few days. These fines are in addition to the fines and possible criminal charges that may be laid in relation to the bird seed load itself. A 30 day extension request to clarify the situation was denied by U.S. Customs.Kenex's western US broker and importer of hempseed products is Nutiva, a Sebastopol, CA based company. Nutiva has over 700 natural food stores, manufacturers and restaurants utilizing the nutritious and versatile hempseed. Nutiva's hempseed bar, made with sunflower, hemp, flax and pumpkin seeds and honey, has just surpassed 100,000 units sales, making it the top selling hemp food in the US. John W. Roulac, president and founder of Nutiva, states, "People love the nutty, chewy taste of our hempseed bars. Hempseed is rich in protein, vitamin E and the heart healthy Omega 3 are an added bonus".The current seizures, recalls and summons are in effect shutting off the supply of hempseeds for this growing market. If the markets are shut down in the US, American farmers future markets for hemp products will thus be curtailed by their own federal government.Industrial hemp has no drug qualities and is grown in thirty-two countries including Canada, France, German and England. Roulac, a board member of the North American Industrial Hemp Council: who has also written three books on industrial hemp, finds it ironic that the federal government is serving him a summons for "Mariuana related products".The federal government's recent action is anti-competitive and a violation of NAFTA, which mentions hemp as a strategic commodity. Currently, French and German hempseed products are still arriving under the same tariff code without such seizures into the US.One of Nutiva customers, Coup Restaurant in New York City, stated, "Our hempseed crusted tuna is our best-selling dish on the menu. To say we are serving a controlled substance is outlandish," said Executive Chef Kevin Roth. The restaurant is now purchasing this ingredient from other hempseed vendors.
Nutiva's Web Site
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