If they get the pre-lunch munchies, employees at the Drug Enforcement
Agency in Concord could step outside their offices to snack on food
provided curbside today by the New Hampshire Hemp Council.

At 197 Loudon Road, passers-by can enjoy a hodgepodge of hemp products
including pretzels, blue corn chips, nut butter and chocolate bars.

The council's gesture aims to counter the DEA's recent introduction of
federal rules outlawing hemp in food. Similar actions in 70 cities around
the country are also happening today.

"I'm upset because they're harassing a legitimate industry purely to
perpetuate their wealth generation scheme at the expense of our survival,"
said Mark Lathrop, president of the New Hampshire Hemp Council and owner of
the Monadnock Hemporium in Keene. "You will no sooner get marijuana from a
hemp plant than you will zucchini from a butternut plant."

The new DEA rules say that hemp products are illegal if any amount of
tetrahydrocannabinols, or THC, the substance that causes a high, enters the
body.

Under the rules, hemp coffee, beer, ice cream or snack bars are forbidden,
while lotion, cosmetics, shampoo and clothing are not. The rules amend the
Controlled Substances Act of 1970 to include hemp in the most dangerous
category of drugs with heroin, LSD and marijuana, according to Tom
Hinojosa, a special agent with the DEA in Washington, D.C.

The goal of today's action is to draw attention to the rules, which hemp
industry organizers say were introduced into the federal register, instead
of being presented to Congress, to avoid public debate. Organizers are
hoping the national action will inspire people to write their elected
officials in opposition to the rules and to offer their support for a
lawsuit in California's Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The lawsuit contends that the DEA rules are not a clarification of an
existing law, as agency officials contend, but a new law altogether.
Plaintiffs, which include the Hemp Industry Association, Nutiva, Inc., Hemp
Oil Canada and Nature's Path Foods USA, Inc., say that processed hemp seed
and oil and products made from such seed and oil were not regulated under
the Controlled Substances Act.

The hemp industry says sales of hemp food and body care products exceeded
$25 million in the United States in 2000, up from less than $1 million a
decade ago.

The latest DEA rules were introduced on Oct. 9. The agency is taking public
comment until Monday. Anyone who has purchased a hemp food or beverage
product has until Feb. 6, 2002, to dispose of it.


Newshawk: http://www.cannabisnews.com/
Pubdate: Tue, 04 Dec 2001
Source: Concord Monitor (NH)
Copyright: 2001 Monitor Publishing Company
Contact: letters@cmonitor.com
Website: http://www.cmonitor.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/767
Author: Jennifer Skalka, Monitor Staff
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/hemp.htm (Hemp)