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Hemp Industry Demands Apology from DEA After 3 Years of Harassment

WWW.VOTEHEMP.COM <http://WWW.VOTEHEMP.COM>
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 12, 2004
CONTACT: Adam Eidinger 202-232-8997, 202-744-2671
Eric Steenstra 703-729-2225

Landmark Court Decision Saves Jobs and Nutritious Foods Made With Hemp Seed Hemp Industry Demands Apology from DEA for Three Years of Harassment

WASHINGTON, DC - Manufacturers and consumers of nutritious hemp food products are thrilled about the legal battle they won on February 6 when a three judge federal panel ruled unanimously that hemp foods are perfectly legal and safe to consume. The Hemp Industries Association (HIA), representing over 200 hemp companies in North America, won their 2 1Ž2-year old lawsuit HIA v. DEA, invalidating the Drug Enforcement Administration's misguided attempt to rewrite the definition of marijuana to include nutritious and safe hemp seed.

³Health-conscious consumers of hemp waffles, bread, cereal, vegetarian burgers, protein powder, salad dressing and nutrition bars can finally relax that these foods are going to stay on store shelves,² David Bronner, Chair of the HIA Food and Oil Committee. ³The decision in HIA v. DEA is a huge boost to the hemp food market, and we expect to see many more hemp food products on store shelves. The three judge panel agreed with our main argument that the DEA's 'Final Rule' ignores Congress's specific exemption in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) under the definition of marihuana that excludes hemp seed and oil from control along with hemp fiber. Based on the decision, the court reasonably views trace insignificant amounts of THC in hemp seed in the same way as it sees trace amounts of opiates in poppy seeds,² says Bronner.

Fighting the DEA ban cost leading hemp companies roughly $200,000 (money that might be recoverable) and resulted in some retailers¹ temporarily pulling hemp products from store shelves. ³The public and media should question the motives of the DEA,² says Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp. ³We have uncovered documents through the Freedom of Information Act that prove the DEA¹s own attorneys at the Department of Justice as far back as March 2000 knew they lacked the authority to ban hemp food products.² See http://www.votehemp.com/PDF/roth_letter.pdf . ³The DEA owes over 200 companies and every American an apology for wasting taxpayer money pursuing a ban on hemp foods.²

Hemp Food Was Victim of Drug War Hysteria

³The truth is that the DEA, at the direction of the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the urging of the Family Research Council, attempted to kill the legitimate, burgeoning hemp foods industry not because hemp is harmful to the human body, but because they see it as a Œstalking horse¹ for the marijuana movement,² says Patrick Goggin, an attorney for the HIA. ³The damages this egregious policy have caused are widespread to say the least. The industry is fully considering its options for recovering these damages and the cost of defending against this underhanded governmental action.² See ONDCP memo on Hemp foods, April 2000 http://www.votehemp.com/PDF/jurith_robles.pdf.

DEA Admitted Hemp Food Does Not Pose Any Harm, Leading Nutritionist Agrees

During final arguments, the DEA acknowledged that hemp foods have no abuse potential, stating ³The concern of the Drug Enforcement Administration isn't particularized to the particular products that these Petitioners make. The DEA has never said, has never focused on the particular products and said anyone can get high from them, or that they pose a harm to people.² According to Nutritionist and best selling author Dr. Andrew Weil, ³There is absolutely no health concern about trace amounts of THC in Hemp foods. I think the federal court decision is great.²

Public Outrage Against DEA Hemp Food Ban

In regard to widespread outrage over the DEA¹s ³Final Rule² ­ 115,000 public comments, a letter from the Canadian government, and a letter from Congress co-signed by 22 Representatives submitted to DEA opposed to the hemp food ban ­ Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Mary Schroeder asked the DEA: ³Did you take into account the objections of people who might say that this doesn't make a lot of sense?² Dormont admitted the rule ³wasn¹t popular.² Protests were organized by Vote Hemp against DEA¹s attempts to ban hemp foods. In December 2001 and again in April 2003, at more than 50 DEA offices nationwide, activists gave away hemp foods, poppy seed bagels and orange juice that contain trace THC, opiates and alcohol respectively to highlight the absurdity of DEA¹s rules. These ³Hemp Food Taste Tests² generated public outrage and forced former DEA Administrator Asa Hutchinson to debate Vote Hemp Director Eric Steenstra on National Public Radio.

Eating Hemp Food Does Not Cause Failed Drug Tests

U.S. hemp food companies voluntarily observe reasonable THC limits similar to those adopted by European nations as well as Canada and Australia. These limits protect consumers with a wide margin of safety from workplace drug-testing interference (see hemp industry standards regarding trace THC at www. <http://www.testpledge.com> www.testpledge.com). <http://www.testpledge.com%29.%A0> The DEA has hypocritically not targeted food manufacturers for using poppy seeds (in bagels and muffins, for
example) even though they contain far higher levels of trace opiates. The recently revived global hemp market is a thriving commercial success. Unfortunately, because the DEA¹s Drug War paranoia has confused non-psychoactive industrial hemp varieties of cannabis with psychoactive ³marihuana² varieties, the U.S. is the only major industrialized nation to prohibit the growing of industrial hemp.

Hemp Companies React to Ninth Circuit Court Ruling

³We are very excited that our best-selling Organic Hemp Plus Granola Cereal® and our LifeStream Natural Hemp Plus Waffels® will continue to be available in thousands of stores nationwide,² says Arran Stephens, President and Founder of Nature¹s Path Foods®.

³DEA was foolish to try to ban hemp seed because it is a rich source of protein, dietary fiber, minerals, iron, vitamin E, and a near perfect composition of essential fatty acids - Omega 3 and 6,² says Lynn Gordon, President of French Meadow Bakery which sells Healthy Hemp Bread®. ³We expect sales to increase enormously as result of the court ruling.²

³Nutiva's organic hemp bars and protein powder can finally be sold without concern over its legality,² says John Roulac, President of Nutiva®.

³Vegetarians everywhere should celebrate this court ruling,² says Ken Holmes, co-founder of Living Harvest®. ³People have a right to eat our nutritious Hemp Power Bar, Hemp Protein, Hemp Oil and Hemp Seed Nut.²

³The decision will boost demand for our bulk and private label oil and seed products, as well as retail brand hemp food and body care products ,² says Shaun Crew, President of Hemp Oil Canada®.

³The court ruling will jumpstart sales of our new meatless Omega Burgers® made from organic hemp seed,² Ruth Shamai, President of Ruth¹s Foods®.

³This decision now allows consumers to vote with there dollars. Healthy hemp food products like Hemp Seed Oil and Hemp Seed Nut (shelled hemp seed) are available now at major retailers like Whole Foods Market,² says Michael Fata, Manitoba Harvest® Hemp Foods & Oils.

Hemp Foods are Safe and Nutritious - DEA Rules Were Ridiculous!

Hemp seed is one of the most perfect sources for human nutrition in all of nature. In addition to its excellent flavor profile, the seed meat protein supplies all essential amino acids in an easily digestible form and with a high protein efficiency ratio. Hemp oil offers high concentrations of the two essential fatty acids (EFAs) in a perfect ratio of the omega-3/omega-6 acids. EFA's are the "good fats" that doctors recommend as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

This superior nutritional profile makes shelled hempseed and oil ideal for a wide range of functional food applications and as an effective fatty acid supplement. Not surprisingly, shelled hempseed and oil are increasingly used in natural food products, such as bread, nutrition bars, hummus, nondairy milks, meatless burgers and cereals.

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For more information or to arrange interviews with representatives of the hemp industry,
please call Adam Eidinger at 202-232-8997 or 202-744-2671.