Hemp Seed Back on U.S. Hit List

Hemp Seed Back on U.S. Hit List
Posted by FoM on January 20, 2000 at 15:44:19 PT
By Roberta Rampton, Winnipeg Bureau
Source: Western Producer
The office of the United States drug czar has thrown more uncertainty into the business plans of Canadian hemp processing companies. On Dec. 30, the Office of the National Drug Control Policy instructed U.S. customs officials to start seizing hemp seed and products that contain any amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). 
"We thought we were kind of past all this," said Shaun Crew, president of Hemp Oil Canada in Ste. Agathe, Man. It's the second time the U.S. government has stirred up confusion in the young industry. In August, American customs officials seized a truckload of hemp birdseed in Windsor, Ont., sparking a three-month-long trade argument, which was resolved in late November. But now, the U.S. drug office has overturned a policy that allowed industrial hemp seed products to cross the border. The director of the office is Barry McCaffrey, a member of the president's cabinet. According to a memo sent to U.S. Customs, the office and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration are reviewing the hemp import policy to make sure it's consistent with the U.S. national drug control strategy. "This is a political kind of situation related to U.S. drug policy," said Ron Krystynak, deputy director for Canada-U.S. trade issues in Agriculture Canada's international trade policy directorate. Hemp processors have continued to ship their goods. As of Jan. 12, Krystynak was not aware of any border delays or problems. He expected U.S. Customs would soon issue more detailed instructions to its staff about how to handle hemp. If U.S. Customs accepts Canadian declarations that products contain no detectable levels of THC, a lot of the cross-border trade could continue, said Krystynak. But if U.S. Customs decides to test each shipment at the border, trade would be disrupted, he added. Canadian regulations allow no more than 10 parts per million of THC in food products such as hemp processed goods. The hemp plants in Canadian fields contain no more than 3,000 parts per million, a level so low it cannot produce the euphoric effects associated with the plant's illegal cousin, marijuana. According to processors, standard tests can't consistently detect very low levels of THC below four parts per million. Hemp Oil Canada's hemp oil contains seven parts per million THC, and the other products have less than two parts per million. Last week, Crew sent two small shipments to U.S. customers to see what would happen at the border. Two weeks ago, one shipment was briefly stopped for inspection. More than 85 percent of Crew's production of hulled seed, oil and roasted seed moves in bulk shipments south across the border. "Without a U.S. market, it's going to be tough," he said. Crew hopes to find ways to minimize THC levels in food products. Pubdate: January 20, 2000 Western ProducerRelated Articles & Web Sites:The Ohio Hempery LTD. Photos of Industrial Hemp may be accessed at: U.S. Freezes Canadian Hemp Shipments - 1/13/2000 Czar Attacks Hemp Industry - 1/12/2000 Approved To Cross The Border - 11/11/99 Fights For Hemp Industry - 10/26/99 
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