DEA Sabotaging Legal Hemp Industry 

DEA Sabotaging Legal Hemp Industry 
Posted by FoM on October 01, 1999 at 12:27:38 PT
DRC Net's Weekly Update News
Source: DRC Net
After 62 years of legal differentiation between psychoactive marijuana and non-psychoactive industrial hemp, the US Drug Enforcement Administration has suddenly begun seizing shipments of legal hemp seed products. 
According to the NORML Foundation, the first seizure was a 53,000 pound loaf of sterilized hemp seed on its way to a major birdseed broker. The company whose shipment was seized, Kenex, Ltd., is Canada's largest producer of hemp food and fiber products. US Customs, cooperating with the DEA, has recalled 14 other loads of hemp products that Kenex shipped to US distributors in the past six months, and Jean Laprise, a farmer and president of Kenex, faces criminal penalties and $500,000 in fines if a full recall is not achieved. According to Don Wirtshafter, proprietor of the Ohio Hempery, Kenex is not the only company that has been affected. Wirtshafter told the Week Online, "They have held up some clothing in recent weeks. They took a shipment of hemp pillows, hemp covered pillows from Thailand. Instead of unzipping the ends of the pillows to see what's inside, they cut them all open with a knife. It's that sort of stuff. I'm aware of shipments from about five companies now that have been held up." Hemp industry leaders are preparing a legal strategy to seek a declaratory judgment in their favor and compensatory damages. Relief, however, couldn't come too soon. Wirtshafter said, "I'm aware of eight major companies ready to have big booths at the Natural Products Expo this month, and the very idea of displaying the stuff now is threatened." According to Wirtshafter, "This is centered around the hemp seeds, and the hemp seed oil, and the hemp nut, and all these products that we were just about to spring big time on the market," continuing, "This threatens my company with bankruptcy and several others as well." While waiting for a legal resolution, Wirtshafter has to "ship back everything I've got to the DEA. It puts me out of business. I don't know how many weeks I'll be able to hold on, but it's irreparable injury." David Frankel, an attorney with 4th Wave Law who is working on the hemp industry's defense, told the Week Online "[The DEA's actions are] contrary to the express rulings of every court decision... and 62 years of federal law. And I think we should point out, sterilized hemp seed has never been illegal in the course of human history." Wirtshafter told the NORML Weekly News, "The seeds coming in from Canada are extremely clean, with over 100 times less THC than anything that has entered the country from China previously. So why are they now kicking the legs out from this emerging industry? Is this because the Drug Czar said hemp would never be economical but we were just about to prove him wrong?" The origins of the new "policy" have been difficult to trace. According to Wirtshafter, "When I asked the [customs] agent in Detroit, who do i approach at the DEA to get some kind of definitive answer, his answer was, "well call Virginia, 703-555-1212, and ask for the headquarters of the DEA and start there. He wouldn't give me any agents' names." The Ohio Hempery. concluded, "The 1937 Marihuana Tax Act specifically excluded the sterilized seed and the seed oil and the seed cake from the definition of marijuana, which then became incorporated in the Controlled Substances Act of 1961. What's going on here is we've done a responsible job here for 10 years separating industrial hemp from marijuana, and the DEA has refused to admit that they're two different things, that you can't get high from industrial hemp, that there's no drug issue here. Everybody agrees that the shipments were sterilized seeds, incapable of germination. So they're clearly not marijuana by definition, yet the DEA insists on treating them as marijuana, and is extending their jurisdiction over these industrial products, that Congress was very careful to exclude from their jurisdiction." ALERT: Please make sure DEA and Customs realize the public knows about their sabotage of the legal hemp industry. Call or fax agent Lev Kuviak, US Customs, Detroit, (313) 226-3166 (phone) or (313) 226-6282 (fax); and call or write Robert C. Gleason, Office of the Chief Counsel, DEA, 600 Army Navy Drive, Arlington, VA 22202, or call the DEA main number at (202) 307-1000 and ask to be transferred. Businesses that are affected, and other interested parties, should contact their US Representatives and Senators and ask them to investigate. You can reach them through the Congressional Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Three weeks ago, the California State Assembly passed a resolution calling on the state to consider making cultivation of industrial hemp legal and to conduct research on the production of industrial hemp. Also recently, Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura called on the federal government to cooperate with his state's efforts to explore industrial hemp. For further information, contact David Frankel, 4th Wave Law, dfrankel Kenex LTD. the link to read all of DRC Net's Weekly Update News: Seizes Hemp Seed Products; Threatens Industry - NORML Sends Letter To President Clinton On Hemp - 10/01/99 Drug Hawks Swoop Down on Birdseed - 9/30/99 Approves Strom-Martins Hemp Resolution - 9/19/99
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