Hemp Firm Fears U.S. Import Ban

Hemp Firm Fears U.S. Import Ban
Posted by FoM on January 21, 2001 at 08:19:15 PT
By Tammy Marlowe -- Staff Reporter
Source: Winnipeg Sun 
A Manitoba-based hemp company is worried it may be effectively shut down if a proposal by the American Drug Enforcement Agency gains any more momentum. "You're talking about a pretty formidable foe to go up against," Shaun Crew, president of Hemp Oil Canada Inc., said this week. 
In 1998, the provincial government changed regulations to allow those who wanted to grow industrial hemp in Manitoba to do so, under strict guidelines and with a permit. Crew established his hemp food processing company in Ste. Agathe the same year, and exports up to 80% of his oil and seed products to the U.S. While hemp is used to make everything from clothing to paper to lip balm and coffee, it's running into some problems south of the border, thanks to its criminal cousin -- marijuana. THC is the active ingredient in marijuana that creates the "high," and makes it an illegal drug. Because hemp is derived from the same type of plant, its products also contain a trace amount of THC. But the U.S. has a "zero tolerance policy on THC," said Brian Wilson, Manitoba Agriculture and Food's crop diversification manager, adding the DEA is pushing to have all products with any THC content banned from import into the U.S. That means products like Crew's would not be allowed into the country. Competitive Advantage: The DEA is worried those who ingest hemp products may test positive for drugs. "It just doesn't happen. There isn't a chance that someone would fail a test," said Crew. "If they shut the border down on us, that's a huge market. To the U.S., hemp is marijuana and marijuana is hemp. They've kind of still got their heads stuck in the sand." Wilson said hemp is a very new crop in Manitoba, and this province has a competitive advantage because of its liberal legislation. He worries such a lucrative new crop may have trouble establishing itself if Canada's largest trading partner closes off its borders. "It's a young industry, but it does have a lot of potential," Wilson said. "We depend, in agriculture, very much on export markets -- we don't have a large population base in Canada. If the U.S. does something to restrict our access to the market it disrupts our economy very, very much." Crew said he expects to learn more about the DEA proposal in the next couple of weeks. If he has to, he said he'll file a complaint under the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. Until then he'll keep lobbying, along with several other groups in the States, to have the separation of marijuana and hemp recognized. "It's a lot of power to fight, but we've got a lot of friends, so here's to hoping they don't get away with this." Source: Winnipeg Sun (CN MB) Author: Tammy Marlowe -- Staff ReporterPublished: January 21, 2001 Copyright: 2001 Canoe Limited Partnership Contact: editor Website: Related Article & Web Site:Hemp Oil Canada Today, Gone Tomorrow? Hemp Archives
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Comment #2 posted by Symmetric on January 21, 2001 at 19:51:07 PT:
One way to fix this
I think the best way to deal with this problem if the DEA goes ahead on its threat is for Chretien to take the case to the WTO on behalf of Canadian hemp farmers. Trade can only work if people are able to sell their products on a fair market free of government regulations.
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Comment #1 posted by Ethan Russo, MD on January 21, 2001 at 08:49:51 PT:
International Law to the Rescue?
It is my hope that this irresponsible and unjustifiable action will be slapped down by world opinion and trade bodies.
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