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US Freezes Canadian Hemp Shipments

Posted on January 14, 2000

By Maureen Brosnahan, CBC Radio

Toronto, Ontario — U.S. Customs has once again closed the border to hemp oil and hemp seeds from Canada, leaving some companies losing patience and money.

The move comes less than a month after American officials agreed to allow the hemp into their country, provided it met certain guidelines.

The latest flip-flop comes after a directive from Washington and the Office of the National Drug Control Policy.

They want any hemp product that contains even trace elements of THC—the key active ingredient in marijuana—to be banned, even though that might violate international trade laws.

The policy change is causing frustration among Canadian hemp producers and costing them money.

For four months last fall, Jean LaPrise waited while American Customs held up a shipment of hemp seed his Ontario company, Kenex, was sending to the U.S.

The seed was to be used by an American company to make bird feed. But officials said it contained a trace amount of THC.

Ron Krystynak, deputy director of Canada-U.S. trade issues with Agriculture Canada, says this is an example of confusing drug policies with trade policies.

He says Canada will back its hemp producers.

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