A stay issued by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will temporarily
allow manufacturers, retailers and consumers to continue making, selling
and eating foods containing hemp products.

The stay, granted after the Hemp Industries Association filed a motion in
the court, prevents two new U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency rules from taking
effect until the court can review them.

The DEA designed the rules, which would have taken effect April 21, to
clarify which substances are legal and illegal under the Controlled
Substances Act of 1970, DEA representative Will Glaspy said. The rules
classify any products that contain tetrahydracannibinol, or THC, as illegal
if they are intended for consumption, Glaspy said. THC is the primary
psychoactive chemical in marijuana.

"THC is a controlled substance," Glaspy said. "So the act that was passed
by Congress does not say a specific amount of THC is illegal; it says that
THC is illegal. Therefore, any product that would cause THC to enter the
body would be an illegal product."

While THC is a Schedule One Controlled Substance, listed with drugs such as
heroin and Phencyclidine (PCP), organic food manufacturers and retailers
argue that their products contain little, if any, detectable traces of THC.

David Neuman, vice president of sales and marketing for Nature's Path Foods
in Blaine, said Nature's Path routinely tests its products to ensure that
the THC content is lower than one part per million, which is the lowest
amount conventional testing procedures can detect.

"This is a food," Neuman said. "This has no possibility of ever giving
anybody a buzz. It doesn't matter how much you eat."

Nature's Path, an organic food company operating out of Blaine and Delta,
B.C., makes granola cereal and waffles that contain hemp seeds. Neuman said
the products are popular and generate substantial revenue for the company.

"It is a big part of our sales - in the millions of dollars of annual
revenue," he said. "And if we lost that, it could affect jobs, it could
affect the revenues of the company, the stability of the company."

Neuman said the health benefits of hemp seeds outweigh any potential harm
trace amounts of THC could cause. Hemp seeds contain approximately 35
percent protein by weight, amino acids and essential fatty acids, which
doctors recommend eating to lower cholesterol, he said.

"Hemp seeds are about the most nutritious product behind soy beans that you
can eat," Neuman said. "They are what are called a complete food, meaning
they have protein, fat and carbohydrates."

Pubdate: Tue, 29 Apr 2003
Source: Western Front, The (WA)
Copyright: 2003, The Western Front
Contact: wfront@cc.wwu.edu
Website: http://westernfront.wwu.edu/