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Washington, DC — Time has run out for the Bush administration to appeal a court ruling earlier this year protecting the sale and consumption of hemp food and cosmetic products in the United States.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on February 6, 2004 in the case of the Hemp Industries Association v. the Drug Enforcement Administration that the agency ignored the exemption in the Controlled Substances Act that excludes hemp fiber, seed and oil from control.

“They cannot regulate naturally occurring THC not contained within or derived from marijuana,” the three judge panel ruled, noting that it is not possible to get high from products with only trace amounts of the psychoactive chemical.

THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, but sterilized hemp seed and oil are exempted from the Controlled Substances Act under the statutory definition of marijuana.

On October 9, 2001 the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued an Interpretive Rule banning any edible item containing hemp seed or oil that contains “any THC.”

The DEA confiscated truckloads of hemp seed imported from Canada and prosecuted the Hemp Industries Association on the grounds that industrial hemp varieties of cannabis contain trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

The administration’s allotted time to appeal the Ninth Circuit ruling to the Supreme Court expired earlier this week. “The mandate of the Ninth Circuit is final and their decision will now be the law of the land,” said Joseph Sandler, lead attorney for the Hemp Industries Association.

“Removing the cloud the DEA put into the marketplace will spur a dramatic surge in the supply and consumption of healthy omega-3 rich hemp seed in America,” says David Bronner, chair of the HIA’s Food and Oil Committee and president of Alpsnack / Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. “This is a huge victory for the hemp industry.”

“More and more health foods containing omega-3 rich hemp nut and oil will be appearing on store shelves since the legal status is no longer an issue,” said Alexis Baden-Mayer, director of government affairs for Vote Hemp.

“Americans are looking for healthy alternative sources of omega-3 to supplement their diets due to concerns regarding trace mercury in fish and fish oil supplements,” said Baden-Mayer.

Currently, the U.S. marketplace is supplied by hemp seed grown and processed in Canada and Europe, but Baden-Mayer said the Hemp Industries Association will lobby Congress to again allow American farmers to grow industrial hemp and “participate in this lucrative growth market.”

U.S. hemp food companies voluntarily observe reasonable THC limits similar to those adopted by European nations and Canada. These limits protect consumers with a wide margin of safety from workplace drug testing interference.

The United States granted the first hemp permit in over 40 years to Hawaii for an experimental quarter acre plot in 1999. The license has been renewed since. Twenty-two states have introduced legislation to permit the cultivation of industrial hemp. Vermont, Hawaii, North Dakota, Montana, Minnesota, Illinois Virginia, New Mexico, California, Arkansas, Kentucky, Maryland and West Virginia have passed legislation for support, research, or cultivation. The National Conference of State Legislators has endorsed industrial hemp.

Copyright © 2004, Environment News Service. All rights reserved.

Air Force Policy Not Based on Science — Libels Legitimate Businesses

Washington, DC — The Indoor Tanning Association (ITA) representing thousands of businesses has joined with the Hemp Industries Association’s (HIA) 200 member companies to seek clarification on the U.S. Air Force policy on sun block and other personal care products that contain hemp seed oil. In a letter sent this week to the Secretary of the Air Force Dr. James Roche, the trade associations ask for clarification on a policy first published April 23rd in Mach Meter: The Online Publication of Cannon Air Force Base that raised unfounded concerns that sun block products made from hemp seed oil could cause false positive drug tests. The story, which was picked up by the Associated Press and has been reported on over 40 local TV stations, misleads Airmen and the general public to think they should not use hemp sun block because it could cause positive drug tests for marijuana.

“The Air Force’s concerns are not based in scientific research and are further discredited since there is no example of any person failing a drug test after using hemp personal care products including, soap, shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer and sun block,” says Candi Penn, Executive Director of HIA. “We want the Air Force to correct the story and issue a clarification that their policy does not ban the use of hemp tanning lotions or other hemp personal care products by Airmen.”

In the April 2004 issue of Medical Review Officer Update the question of whether hemp seed oil products used on the skin can cause positive drug tests was addressed. According to Dr. Gero Leson who has conducted research on hemp seed oil absorption through skin, one cannot fail a drug test under federal guidelines even after prolonged use of hemp products.

In recent years a handful of people have contested they failed their drug test as a result of using hemp products on the skin. Despite these allegations, there has yet to be a case in which someone was excused in court for failing their drug test due to their use of a hemp seed product.

U.S. hemp companies voluntarily observe reasonable THC limits similar to those adopted by European nations as well as Canada and Australia. These limits protect consumers with a wide margin of safety from workplace drug-testing interference (see hemp industry standards regarding trace THC at www.testpledge.com). “Unfortunately, the Air Force is confusing non-psychoactive industrial hemp varieties of cannabis with psychoactive ‘marihuana’ varieties,” says Penn.

“Concerns reported in the story that drug sniffing dogs could target a person wearing hemp sun block are totally ridiculous,” says Penn. She adds, “Thousands of gallons of hemp seed oil are legally imported into the U.S every year, yet drug sniffing dogs on the border have never confused these raw materials with marijuana. If the dogs on the border leave the unprocessed hemp alone, I cannot believe they will bother someone wearing a few drops on hemp sun block. The Air Force needs to do a better job of reporting the facts about hemp before they do greater damage to legitimate businesses by airing unfounded allegations.”

Related articles

Hemp Sun-Screen Story Wrong on Drug Testing
Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Golden tan could lead to silver cuffs
Friday, April 23, 2004

Army Captain, Hemp Food Makers Get No Apology
Friday, April 09, 2004

Copyright © 2004, Hemp Industries Association. All rights reserved.

Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico — A report first published April 23rd in Mach Meter: The Online Publication of Cannon Air Force Base has spread across the Internet through a poorly researched Associated Press story. It raises unfounded concerns that sun-screens, tanning lotions, and other personal care products made with hemp seed oil could cause false positive drug tests because they contain trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive ingredient of marijuana. These concerns are not based on scientific research and contradict earlier studies on this issue. There are no documented cases of a person failing a drug test after using hemp oil or hemp oil containing personal care products, such as soaps, shampoos, conditioners, moisturizers, tanning lotions, and sun-screens on the skin.

“Whether you work for the Air Force, police or local transit authority, Americans who are subject to workplace drug-testing will never fail a test because they use a personal care product made with hemp oil,” says David Bronner, chair of the Hemp Industries Association’s (HIA) Food and Oil Committee and President of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. “My soaps are made with hemp oil because it contains an extraordinary amount of omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids that restore and moisturize the skin, and is an effective natural alternative to chemical-based skin care ingredients,” says Bronner.

The April 2004 issue of the Medical Review Officer Update, a leading publication serving drug-testing professionals, addressed the question of whether hemp oil used on the skin can cause positive drug tests by referring to a scientific study conducted by Dr. Gero Leson. Dr. Leson determined that even in an unrealistic worst-case scenario, in which a person with highly compromised skin uses pure hemp oil as massage oil and leaves it on for 24 hours, the amount of THC potentially absorbed is insignificant compared to the amount required for producing a positive drug test. Consequently, the publication’s editor, Dr. Swotinsky advised that “commercial hemp oil skin products contain minuscule THC concentrations, and use of these products does not create the right conditions for THC-positive urine drug test results.”

In recent years a handful of people have alleged that they failed workplace drug tests as a result of using hemp oil products on the skin. Such allegations were routinely proven to be false, and there has yet to be a case in which someone was excused due to use of a hemp oil personal care product. U.S. hemp companies voluntarily observe THC limits similar to those adopted by European nations and Canada. These limits protect consumers, with a wide margin of safety, who use hemp-content personal care products and routinely and extensively consume hemp food products from the risk of a positive drug test. Please see the hemp industry’s voluntary standards regarding trace THC at http://www.testpledge.com.

“Concerns reported in the story that drug-sniffing dogs could target a person wearing hemp sun block are ridiculous,” says Bronner. He adds, “Thousands of gallons of hemp seed oil are legally imported into the U.S every year, yet drug sniffing dogs on the border have never confused these raw materials with marijuana. News organizations need to do a better job of reporting the facts about hemp before they do greater damage to legitimate businesses by airing unfounded allegations.”

Related articles

Airmen May Get Burned by Hemp Sun Lotion
Monday, May 03, 2004

Golden tan could lead to silver cuffs
Friday, April 23, 2004

Army Captain, Hemp Food Makers Get No Apology
Friday, April 09, 2004

Copyright © 2004, Vote Hemp. All rights reserved.

Editors note: This is nothing more than FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) tactics. There have been no legitimate reports of testing positive for THC in association with hemp body care products.

Just say no — to suntan lotion? Cannon Air Force Base is warning airmen about suntan lotions and oils that contain hemp byproducts, including an active chemical found in marijuana.

The April 23 edition of Cannon’s newspaper, the Mach Meter, notes that some local tanning salon are selling products containing hemp seed oil, hemp oil or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol — THC — marijuana’s main active chemical.

The military prohibits its members from using marijuana and tests them for THC levels.

Although there is a “statistically small” chance of testing positive for THC with such a lotion, that possibility “is simply not worth the risk,” the newspaper notes.

A Cannon spokesman said Air Force policy strictly forbids drug abuse. For instance, airmen taking medical prescriptions are required to keep and show proper paperwork.

“The zero-tolerance drug policy is all inclusive,” Airman First Class Jared Marquis said Friday.

The article was written after an officer with Cannon’s Area Defense Council, the base’s version of a civilian public defender office, noticed that tanning businesses in Clovis and Portales sold lotions made of hemp byproducts, Marquis said.

According to the article, Cannon officials don’t expect that anyone would orally ingest a lotion, but lotions could be applied over a skin cut or scrape. “There can be a chance of absorption under certain circumstances.”

Another risk of using a hemp-based lotion is attracting the attention of the base’s drug-sniffing K-9s. That, in turn, could attract unwanted attention from supervisors and base prosecutors, the article states.

“While the lotion was not used with intent to break any laws and is not illegal, the fact that a military working dog alerts on your car or your person creates a perception that nobody wants,” the article warns.

The International Smart Tan Network, a tanning salon trade association, says the THC content in tanning products is used to hydrate skin. Manufacturers of hemp seed-based lotions haven’t received complaints about positive drug tests, according to the group’s Web site.

Related articles

Hemp Sun-Screen Story Wrong on Drug Testing
Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Golden tan could lead to silver cuffs
Friday, April 23, 2004

Army Captain, Hemp Food Makers Get No Apology
Friday, April 09, 2004

Copyright © 2004, Albuquerque Journal. All rights reserved.

Editors note: The reader should note that the true warning being issued has more to do with a military working dog detecting the scent of hemp seed oil, not the possibility of falsely testing positive for THC when using hemp seed oil based body care products.

As the warmer months approach and summer vacation plans begin forming, many Cannon members begin the process of getting that perfect tan.

While the actual medical consequences of tanning are a different topic altogether, I want to discuss the potential legal consequences of obtaining that perfect color.

Recently, the tanning market has been flooded with new and improved moisturizers and accelerators containing hemp seed oil, hemp oil, Tetra Hydro Cannabinol-9 (THC) or marijuana byproducts.

Some of the local tanning establishments in the Clovis and Portales area are selling these products right off the shelf.

While all military members are aware that ingestion and wrongful use of marijuana is prohibited by the Uniform Code of Military Justice, some may not be aware that military members are also prohibited from ingesting any product containing hemp seed or hemp oil.

Air Force Instruction 44-121, 3.5.5 states that laboratory studies have shown that products made with hemp seed and hemp oil may contain varying levels of THC, an active ingredient in marijuana, which is detectable under the Air Force drug testing program.

The instruction continues by stating that to ensure military readiness, the ingestion of products containing or products derived from hemp seed or hemp seed oils is prohibited. Failure to comply with this regulation is a violation of Article 92 of the UCMJ.

Clearly, nobody would ingest lotion or tanning oil, as it says in the AFI, but the lotion or oil will, by the simple nature of its use, come into contact with your skin.

There can be a chance of absorption under certain circumstances.

Forensic pathologists at Brooks City Base Lab, San Antonio, Texas, caution that if the lotion or oil was to come into contact with openings in the skin, such as cuts or scrapes, a person’s body could absorb some portion of the chemicals and possibly cause a military member to “pop positive.”

The possibility is simply not worth the risk.

According to Dr. Laura Haley, Forensics Toxicologist at the Brooks Lab, besides poppy seeds and hemp products, some herbal teas and children’s medicines contain substances that can make a military member pop positive.

“There are even stimulants in power drinks,” she said.

Dr. Haley is consulted about 50 times a year and testifies 25 times a year on drug cases. She said she hears hundreds of excuses as to how drugs got into a person’s system.

“I hear ‘It was slipped into my drink’ or ‘It was in the food’ all of which are highly unlikely,” Dr. Haley said.

Even though the chance of “popping positive” for THC after using tanning products is statistically small, there are other consequences everyone should be aware of.

Every time a military member or spouse drive on the base, they are implying consent to have their vehicles searched.

The 27th Security Forces Squadron often uses military working dogs to help with those random searches.

The K-9’s are trained to detect odors, including residual odors, of several different drugs, including; marijuana, THC and hemp seed oil. If someone were to innocently use a lotion or oil containing these products, then were searched while entering the base, there is no doubt that a military working dog could detect the odor of the oil or lotion on the body or within the car.

“When a military dog alerts, there are several steps SFS members take,” said Staff Sgt. James Pitts, 27th SFS kennel master. “That includes searching the vehicle, the person, their pockets and personal possessions. In some cases, members are asked to perform a urine test.”

While the lotion was not used with intent to break any laws and is not illegal, the fact that a military working dog alerts on your car or your person creates a perception that nobody wants.

The base prosecutors, the unit commander, first sergeant and members of the investigative agencies on base are briefed after a K-9 alerts on a car.

Again, it’s not the kind of attention any Airman desires and can be avoided, in this case, simply by using one of the other products on the market that do not contain THC, hemp seed or hemp seed oil.

While many of us want that golden tan this summer, think carefully before you make the purchase that can create consequences that could last much longer than the tan.

Related articles:

Hemp Sun-Screen Story Wrong on Drug Testing
Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Airmen May Get Burned by Hemp Sun Lotion
Monday, May 03, 2004

Army Captain, Hemp Food Makers Get No Apology
Friday, April 09, 2004

Copyright © 2004, Mach Meter. All rights reserved.

You don’t have to ponder the absence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq to notice the Bush administration has trouble admitting it erred.

Consider a smaller, quieter misadventure. Consider the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s war on hemp, a harmless and healthy food source.

Ponder why the DEA, having lost three rounds in court, would this week waste more time and tax money appealing the latest one, a court ruling telling the DEA it can’t outlaw hemp.

Or how about the military’s position in the case against Army Captain James Yee, a Muslim chaplain formerly stationed at the detainee camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba? Authorities last September threw him into solitary confinement for 2 ½ months on suspicion of spying only to discover, quite belatedly, that there wasn’t enough evidence even to formally charge him with that.

Oops.

The Army did charge him with lesser crimes, only to decide last month to drop the worst of those charges, too.

If Yee has a problem with any of this, the Army has advised him to keep it to himself. This week his commander wrote Yee, advising him to squelch any “adverse criticism” or face possible discipline.

Mistaken Actions

Today this column revisits those two topics to report new developments. These two cases, though different from each other, both involve victims of mistaken Bush administration actions who are seeking apologies and are getting the opposite.

In the Yee matter, when authorities couldn’t justify spy charges, they instead accused him of mishandling classified documents.

And while looking for treason, they came up instead with evidence of adultery and a government computer containing pornography. It wasn’t exactly Benedict Arnold material, but it was fodder for more charges, albeit ones normally handled administratively.

And so, at a widely covered, pre-court-martial hearing in December at Ft. Benning, Georgia, the press heard lots of testimony about Yee’s sex life and not much else.

When it came time to offer proof of document mishandling, the Army suspended the hearing to evaluate its evidence. That’s what had happened as of the Dec. 12 column about the case.

Dropping Charges

Then, on March 19, the Army announced it was dropping the documents charges and moving the adultery and pornography allegations to lesser, administrative proceedings.

On March 22, Yee, who had first been told he could face execution, received his final punishment. He was reprimanded.

Yee’s lawyer, Eugene Fidell, is appealing the reprimand and says an apology is in order.

A military powerful enough to jail Yee on so little evidence “should be big enough to admit a mistake,” says Fidell.

The military is admitting nothing. Lack of evidence had nothing to do with dropping the documents charge, says Lieutenant Colonel Bill Costello, spokesman for the Southern Command in Miami. Authorities had “security concerns about making the documents in the case public,” he says.

What Yee has received from higher-ups is a memorandum from the commander at his new assignment near Seattle advising him to be careful what he says in public.

“Speech that undermines the effectiveness of loyalty, discipline, or unit morale is not constitutionally protected” under military law, Lieutenant Colonel Marvin Whitaker said in the memo released by Fidell.

“Adverse criticism” of the military “that is disloyal or disruptive to good order and discipline” is also restricted.

What in the world could Yee possibly say that might be the least bit critical of the military?

Hemp Food Case

The legality of hemp food is not the most pressing issue this nation faces, it’s true. No one is getting killed because of Washington’s misjudgment about it.

What makes the hemp case remarkable is the lack of a rationale for the administration’s belief that hemp foods are as illegal as marijuana.

This column has covered the hemp brouhaha beginning Dec. 1, 2001, and most recently Jan. 9.

Since then, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals based in San Francisco said in a 3-0 ruling Feb. 6 that the DEA has no legal grounds to outlaw hemp.

Before you dismiss the ruling as just one more bit of craziness from that wacky, frequently reversed, Left Coast court, hold on. One of the three judges on the unanimous panel was Alex Kozinski, a Ronald Reagan appointee, one of the more conservative members of the court and a judge widely respected for his intellect. The two others were Jimmy Carter appointees, including Chief Judge Mary Schroeder.

Exempting Hemp

The panel wrote that the Controlled Substances Act, which classifies certain drugs as illegal, specifically exempts that part of the Cannabis plant that goes into hemp food.

“Congress knew what it was doing, and its intent to exclude non-psychoactive hemp from regulation is entirely clear,” says the opinion.

“It’s nice to have a clean vindication,” says David Bronner, president of the Hemp Industries Association, which sued the DEA.

That was the third time the appeals court ruled against the government. Instead of giving up, the DEA Monday filed for reconsideration by the full 9th Circuit, asserting the panel had misread the law.

Deadline Extended

Apparently, the DEA did also. Its petition arrived a day beyond the deadline, which had already been extended to accommodate the agency.

The fight is over hemp oil and sterilized seeds, which are the ingredients that put the hemp into hemp foods. They come from the same Cannabis plant as marijuana, but contain almost none of marijuana’s mind-altering ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.

It is easier to get high off a poppy seed bagel than it is to get a buzz from hemp bread.

This doesn’t matter to the DEA. What matters to the DEA is that even a teeny tiny, itsy bitsy speck of THC is illegal under the law as the DEA reads it.

“They’re a pretty hard-headed bunch,” says Eric Steenstra, president of the hemp advocacy group, Vote Hemp.

Steenstra says advocates will not only seek attorneys fees when the case is over, they are also seeking an apology for the agency’s suppression of a perfectly legitimate business.

“I’m sorry,” are words not often heard in Washington. And yet, remorse is recognized in law. Under federal sentencing policy, a criminal who takes responsibility for his mistakes and displays remorse will get a shorter prison term than the criminal who doesn’t.

The federal government is pretty good at squeezing remorse out of people. What’s difficult is for people to squeeze remorse from the federal government.

Copyright © 2004, Bloomberg. All rights reserved.

Winnipeg, Manitoba — People who frequently consume food items containing hempseeds and the oil extracted from the seeds are unlikely to fail a urine test for marijuana, according to a recent toxicological study commissioned by the Agricultural Research and Development Initiative, a program funded by the Canadian federal government and the Manitoba provincial government, the North American Hemp Council and several manufacturers of hemp foods.

The study was motivated by past reports of positive drug tests caused by hemp oil and snacks from seeds with relatively high levels of Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Traces of this main psychoactive ingredient inmarijuana are present in industrial hemp plants.

Regulations in Canada, limit THC levels in hempseed products to 10 parts per million. While there is currently no federal standard in the U.S., the Drug Enforcement Agency cites potential interference with drug testing as their main objection to the importation and sale of hemp foods from Canada.

The study monitored concentrations of THC metabolites in the urine of 15 volunteers who ate, over four consecutive 10-day periods, one tablespoon per day of a hemp/canola oil blend. Corresponding THC doses increased stepwise from 0.09 to 0.45 milligrams per day, much below the 10 mg threshold for psychoactivity to take place.

Daily intake of 0.45 mg of THC translates into eating six tablespoons of hemp oil daily or a half pound of hulled hempseeds of commercial quality.

To: The Honorable Donnie Marshall
Acting Administrator
Drug Enforcement Administration
Street Address
Washington, DC 20537

Dear Acting Administrator Marshall:

My company, The Body Shop, has been an international pioneer in the renaissance of industrial hemp. We campaign so passionately on its behalf not only because hempseed oil has proved so successful for us — our hemp range of skin care products will account for almost 4 per cent of total sales in 2000 (our annual sales in 1999 were $996 million) — but also because we believe its countless applications make industrial hemp equally promising for other businesses.

It has come to my attention that the DEA is considering new regulations which would prohibit the sale of The Body Shop’s hemp lip balms, oils, creams, shampoos and conditioners in the US. (These products are currently sold in 1,600 shops in over 100 countries.)

I strongly urge you not to adopt these misguided regulations. They would be damaging to our business and they are wrong in regard to the very nature of hemp, one of nature’s most useful, beneficial plants.

As I understand it, under the proposed Interpretative Rule, the DEA would declare any personal care products that contain any amounts of THC to be a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance — even though such products are made from portions of the cannabis plant that are excluded from the definition of marijuana.

This proposed rulemaking apparently stems from claims put forth by the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s director, General Barry McCaffrey, who has stated that “Recently, Cannabis sativa L seeds and oil, pressed from those seeds, have been imported for human consumption in various forms of hemp products. These later offerings include topical solutions, [emphasis mine] as well as products specifically designed for ingestion. Such applications for human consumption are confounding our Federal drug control testing programs, if they contain THC, and are of significant concern.”

The Body Shops’ hemp personal care products contain small amounts of hemp oil, which has little or no THC. There is no scientific evidence that any topical application of these products can convey any amount of THC into the body. And, as you are aware, there is well-established research in Canada that permits a level of 10 parts per million (.001 per cent) THC in hemp oil as impossible of producing any psychoactive effects.

Further, a recent toxicological study commissioned in part by the Canadian federal and the Manitoba provincial governments concluded “persons who frequently consume food items containing hemp seeds and oil are very unlikely to fail a workplace urine test for marijuana.” If ingestion of the equivalent of a half pound of hempseed per day does not cause a positive drug test, it stands to reason that topical application of much smaller amounts of hemp oil could not do so, either. Such reports would seem to answer concerns about the “confounding” of drug testing programs.

But don’t take our word for it alone. In March of this year, the Department of Justice stated what should be obvious: shampoos and conditioners, lip balms, soaps, oils and creams that contain hemp oil which may contain microscopic amounts of THC are not controlled substances. They do not promote “highs”: They are simply very high quality health products, now bought by millions of health-conscious customers around the world from our shops.

Responding to an inquiry from your agency about hemp usage in nutritional supplements, John Roth, Chief, Narcotic & Dangerous Drug Section, Department of Justice, wrote to you in March of this year:

“Many of these products have tested positive for the presence of small amounts of naturally occurring tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). I have been informed that those hemp products intended for human consumption have THC at levels too low to trigger a psychoactive effect, and are not purchased, sold or marketed with the intent of having a psychoactive effect” [emphasis mine].

He further states that:

“Under the Controlled Substances Act, ‘The mature stalks of such plant, fiber produced from such stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of such plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of such mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefrom), fiber, oil or cake or the sterilized seed of such plant which is incapable of germination are excluded from the definition of marihuana.’ Therefore, products derived from this portion of the cannabis plant commonly referred to as ‘hemp’ are explicitly excluded from regulation under the Controlled Substance Act.’’

As for claiming that any amount of THC defines a controlled substance, Mr. Roth explained, ”It has been suggested that ‘hemp’ products containing THC are subject to regulation under 21 U.S.C. S812©(17). However, [this statute] refers only to synthetic THC, not the THC naturally occurring within marijuana. Several courts of appeal have also held that the THC referred to in the statute is synthetic THC. No courts have held to the contrary, and we consider this well settled law.

Thus, it appears we are not able to regulate or prohibit the importation of ‘hemp’ products based on any residual or trace content of naturally occurring THC” [emphasis mine].

And the distinction between marijuana and hemp is further described:

“We have considered the so-called ‘marijuana derivatives’ argument. Courts have held, for example, that hashish and other products are Schedule I controlled substances, notwithstanding the fact that they are not specifically listed within the statutory definition of marijuana. Courts have so held because of the obvious congressional intent to criminalize marijuana products derived from the marijuana plant, which have the same narcotic effects as marijuana itself.”

With ‘hemp’ by contrast, Congress has made its intent known by specifically excluding these products from its definition of marijuana [emphasis mine].”

Mr. Roth concludes,

“It is our legal opinion that we presently lack the authority to prohibit the importation of ‘hemp’ products, absent regulatory language that interprets, or legislative action to modify, the definition of marihuana.”

I draw your attention to the phrases, “well settled law” and “Congress has made its intent known” re. hemp. It appears to me that DEA’s response — the proposed new regulatory language — is an effort to circumvent the established history of judiciary rulings and the explicit purpose of congressional law as outlined by the Department of Justice. This is a bureaucratic usurpation of the express will of the judicial and legislative branches of government. It is wrong.

Again, I strongly urge you not to adopt these misguided regulations. They are grounded in misunderstanding, and will have enormously damaging effects on my business and many other international businesses currently involved in the import and export of hemp seed and oil.

Be assured that The Body Shop International will vigorously seek appropriate remedies in every possible national and international forum if such regulations were to be adopted.

Sincerely,

Anita Roddick, OBE
Founder and Co-Chair, The Body Shop

Copyright © 2000, The Body Shop. All rights reserved.

Sebastopol, California — Persons who frequently consume food items containing hemp seeds and oil are very unlikely to fail a workplace urine test for marijuana. This is the main finding of a recent toxicological study commissioned by the Agricultural Research and Development Initiative (ARDI), a program funded by the Canadian federal and the Manitoba provincial governments; the North American Industrial Hemp Council (NAIHC), and several manufacturers of hemp foods.

The study was motivated by past reports of positive drug tests caused by hemp oil and snacks from seeds with relatively high levels of Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Traces of this main psychoactive ingredient of marijuana are present in industrial hemp plants, grown for fiber and seeds. Regulations in Canada, the main supplier of hemp seeds to the U.S., limit THC levels in hempseed products to 10 parts per million (ppm). While there is currently no standard in the U.S., the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) cites potential interference with drug testing as their main objection to the importation and sale of hemp foods.

The study monitored concentrations of THC metabolites in the urine of 15 volunteers who ate, over four consecutive ten-day-periods, one tablespoon per day of a hemp/canola oil blend. Corresponding THC doses increased stepwise from 0.09 to 0.45 milligrams (mg) per day, much below the 10 mg threshold for psychoactivity. Daily intake of 0.45 mg of THC translates into eating daily 6 tablespoons of hemp oil or a half a pound of hulled hemp seeds of commercial quality. Even hemp food connoisseurs rarely consume such quantities.

At this dose, no volunteer exceeded, during the initial urine screening test, the 50 parts per billion (ppb) cutoff applied by federal and most private employers to detect marijuana use. THC doses as low as 0.2 mg/day caused several exceedances of the lower, more stringent 20 ppb cutoff used by few employers and law enforcement agencies. Yet, “confirmation testing” of these samples by the more specific GC/MS (gas chromatography / mass spectrometry) method always found THC metabolite levels much below the 10 ppb cutoff (for GC/MS). Above this cutoff, some drug testing programs consider a sample “confirmed positive” for marijuana. One of three volunteers consuming up to 0.6 mg/day of THC screened positive at the 50 ppb level but was not confirmed positive by GC/MS.

The study was coordinated by Leson Environmental Consulting, Berkeley, CA. A scientific advisory board of internationally acknowledged experts in pharmacology and toxicology reviewed study design and results. Says Gero Leson, the study principal investigator: “Our results demonstrate that even people who frequently consume hemp foods of the quality now found in stores will not fail urine tests for marijuana – as long as…Hemp seed processors continue to adhere to thorough seed cleaning methods.” These now generally keep THC levels in hemp oil and hulled seeds below 5 and 2 ppm, respectively; and…Employers and administrators of drug testing programs follow established federal guidelines for urine testing, requiring that urine samples, which fail the screening test, must be confirmed by GC/MS.

The study summary will be posted by August 9,2000 at www.naihc.org. About NAIHC: The North American Industrial Hemp Council is a 501 (c)(3) organization comprised of industrial, agricultural, governmental and environmental interests who seek the recommercialization of industrial hemp.

Copyright © 2000, Hemptech. All rights reserved.

Spectral Camera Spots Marijuana Plants from High Elevations

By ORINCON Corporation International

San Diego, California — ORINCON Corp., the leading provider of innovative solutions and diversified intelligent systems technology for the information age, has announced that it will demonstrate, with the West Virginia State Police this summer, a new method for the automatic detection of marijuana crops using an aircraft-mounted sensor. This represents a tremendous advance over current visual inspection methods.

Law enforcement typically relies on ground raids, which are prone to human limitations. ORINCON’s spectral camera technology provides a much more thorough, rapid, and cost-effective means of truncating the burgeoning marijuana trade, since it can identify crops that are often cultivated in dense forests and other hard-to-reach areas.

Last summer, the West Virginia State Police allowed ORINCON to test the ability of hyperspectral optical technology to locate crops of marijuana. Given the success of that test, ORINCON has been invited to participate in this summer’s interdiction effort to further validate the technology and demonstrate a more advanced detection unit.

The tests will be conducted in an area of the country where the illegal cultivation of marijuana has exploded over the past few decades, eclipsing the region’s traditional illegal commodity, “moonshine.” Approximately 40 percent of the nation’s marijuana plants come from West Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky, causing local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to proclaim this 65-county region the Appalachian High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. The local marijuana is high in THC (Tetra Hydro Cannabinol) content, the psychoactive substance that is being traded for cocaine and “crystal meth,” which brings in societal problems associated with more urban areas.

Based on a Hyperspectral Sensor System, which ORINCON developed with Rancho Bernardo, Calif.-based Surface Optics Corporation, the new “pot-buster” camera can detect marijuana plants from an elevation of 5,000 feet, and from several hundred yards on the ground, against a backdrop of heavy vegetation. This sophisticated technology can even differentiate a marijuana plant from hemp, a similar, but legal plant used to make rope and clothing. This technology can also be used to detect environmental pollution.

“We have developed powerful software techniques and digitally enhanced high-resolution images to provide law enforcement officials and environmental agencies with an edge,” said Dr. Dan Alspach, President and CEO of ORINCON. “This is a sophisticated, clever tool that has far-reaching uses. We plan to use our expertise in digital signal processing and data fusion to further enhance the capability of this system.”

The Hyperspectral Sensor System works by breaking portions of the optical spectrum into as many as 30 unique colors at a rate of 30 times per second. First, the instrument quantifies the spectral energy in each image and then uses this to build a matched filter “tuned” to the specific target. For marijuana detection, the image is processed further to yield a clear feature identification of the illegal activity.

Preliminary tests indicate that the same techniques used for detecting local marijuana crops may also be appropriate for identifying coca, opium poppy fields, and various types of pollution, including oil spills and acid mine drainage. ORINCON plans to offer this technology through an imaging analysis service available to federal, state, and local government agencies around the world.

About ORINCON

ORINCON, founded in 1973, is the leading provider of innovative solutions and diversified intelligent systems technology for the information age. For over two decades, ORINCON has helped solve complex defense challenges by developing and enhancing systems and technologies involving signals, images, information, and computers. The company’s engineering expertise and diverse portfolio of expert capabilities and reusable software is widely recognized within the defense sector.

Company technologies include data fusion, data mining, database tools, expert systems, image processing, intelligent agents, Internet tools, neural networks, signal processing, and software development tools. These technologies are now being applied to new markets such as transportation, life sciences, machinery monitoring, e-commerce, and financial services, in addition to their tradition defense applications. The company is headquartered in San Diego, Calif. For further information on ORINCON, visit the company website at www.orincon.com.

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