The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency will ban the sale of all hemp
food products effective April 21, barring a successful court
challenge by industry leaders.
The March 21 ruling by the DEA is virtually identical to the
agency?s ?Interpretive Rule? issued October 9, 2002, which was
blocked by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals after a challege
by the Hemp Industries Association (HIA). HIA spokesman David
Bronner said the group, which petitioned the appeals court last
week to overturn the agency?s ruling, is confident that hemp
producers will prevail.
?The DEA?s charade of supposedly protecting the public from safe
and nutritious hemp food is a finally going to end,? Bronner said
in a statement. ?The court is currently hearing a substantive
challenge to the ?Interpretitive Rule,? and in light of the
announcement of the ?Final Rule,? the hemp industry is optimistic
that the court will ultimately invalidate the DEA?s rule, as one of
the prime criteria granting the stay was whether the hemp industry
is likely to ultimately prevail on the merits of the case.?
The DEA has sought to ban hemp food products because trace
amounts of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, are found in
hemp seeds. Hemp proponents argue that the miniscule amounts of THC
found in hemp seeds are insignificant and non-psychoactive, and
that the nutritional value of hemp food products are overlooked by
the agency?s prohibitionist crusade.