A San Francisco appeals court on April 17 blocked the DEA from
implementing a ban on hemp food products. In a press release on
VoteHemp.com, the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) hailed
the temporary stay as a major victory. The ban, known as the ?Final
Rule,? had been slated to go into effect April 21 and would have
prohibited the sale of hemp foods and hemp seed oil imported for
manufacturing soaps and cosmetics because they contain trace
amounts of naturally occurring THC. It was identical to an earlier
?Interpretive Rule? issued by the agency in October, 2001, which
the same appeals court blocked in March, 2002.
?Because trace infinitesimal THC in hemp seed is
non-psychoactive and insignificant, the U.S. Congress exempted
non-viable hemp seed and oil from control under the [Controlled
Substances Act], just as Congress exempted poppy seeds from the
CSA, although they contain trace opiates otherwise subject to
control,? the HIA statement noted.
The court?s stay gives the HIA, a trade group for the small but
growing hemp food and body care products industry, another six
months to prepare before its legal challenge to the DEA?s proposed
rule change goes to trial in October. ?With this stay in effect,?
said Joe Sandler, counsel for the HIA, ?all those who sell, import,
manufacture, distribute and retail edible hemp oil and seed, and
oil and seed products can continue those activities secure in the
knowledge that such products remain perfectly lawful.?
Hemp seeds have long been hailed for their nutritional value,
particularly as a source of protein content and essential fatty
acids, sometimes called the ?good fats.? Dr. Udo Erasmus, an
internationally recognized nutritional authority on fats and oils,
has called hemp seed oil ?nature?s most perfectly balanced
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