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The Coaltion To Save Hemp: Overview On DEA Proposals to Ban Hemp

As Americans have become more health and environmentally conscious, the demand for hemp products has grown substantially. Hemp seed oil is one of the best natural sources of the two essential fatty acids that our bodies can't manufacture and we just can't live without. In addition to its health properties, hemp oil has potential as an alternative to petroleum-based fuels and plastics, and its fiber could replace trees as the primary source of pulp for paper and timber for construction. Perhaps most importantly, hemp can be grown without the use of chemical pesticides because of its natural resistance to pests.

Indeed, the future potential of hemp seems boundless, but dangerous obstacles lie ahead. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is currently working to make many hemp products illegal, including nutritional supplements and hair and skin care products. The DEA wants to ban any hemp product that is ingested or applied topically.

Since hemp products contain naturally occurring trace amounts of THC -- the main psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana -- the DEA says hemp products must be outlawed because they are confounding the federal drug testing programs. For the record, hemp products do not cause a psychoactive "high." Similarly, eating poppy seeds does not have the same effect on a person that consuming heroin does, yet consumers of poppy seeds sometimes test positive for opiates.

Of note, the Department of Justice, in a letter to the DEA, reported that the THC levels in hemp products are too low to trigger the psychoactive high associated with marijuana, and they are not purchased, sold, or marketed with the intent of having a psychoactive effect.

The DEA's main argument is that the consumption of hemp products and the use of marijuana are indistinguishable in drug tests, and that diminishes the government's ability to identify marijuana users through current tests.

Contrary to the DEA's position, recent evidence shows that the consumption of hemp products does not affect the outcome of drug tests. A study commissioned by the Canadian government concluded that "persons who frequently consume food items containing hemp seeds and oil are very unlikely to fail a workplace urine test for marijuana."

Any day now, the DEA will formally propose its new regulations to ban numerous hemp products. While most new regulations must undergo a 30-day public comment period, it is unclear whether the DEA will allow any opportunity for comment whatsoever. There is no time to waste.

Coalition to Save Hemp, overview

DEA getting close to *banning* hemp foods and cosmetic products!
Letter sent by CSH on 1/12/01

Dear Friend,

The DEA has now officially announced that it intends to ban most hemp products in the United States, including food made from sterile (non- psychoactive) hemp seeds and hemp-based personal-care products.

Whether or not you expressed your outrage in October when we first heard about the DEA's plans, please visit http://www.SaveHemp.org now to send an updated pre-written letter to all of your elected officials and the DEA.

(Many legislators who are now in office were not in office in October. In addition, legislators who contacted the DEA in October on behalf of their constituents were told that there wasn't any official proposal to ban hemp -- which is no longer true. Visit http://www.SaveHemp.org to send your second round of letters today!)

Under the DEA's proposed regulation, literally millions of Americans will be criminalized for possessing shampoos, lotions, and soaps that have the slightest amount of naturally occurring THC, the primary active ingredient in marijuana. (It is impossible to get a psychoactive effect from hemp-based shampoos and soaps, but the DEA is proposing to ban them nevertheless.)

Those who are arrested for shampoo or soap will face up to one year in federal prison and a $10,000 fine -- the same penalties they would face if they were arrested for possessing a small amount of marijuana.

If someone is arrested with a stockpile of (currently legal) hemp products that weighs hundreds of pounds, it stands to reason that the defendant would face a 5- or 10-year mandatory minimum prison sentence -- or even the death penalty -- under federal law.

There are already 700,000 arrests every year in the U.S. for marijuana offenses. Our nation's beleaguered criminal justice system doesn't need the additional strain of processing 100,000's of additional arrests that will result from the illegal possession of non- psychoactive shampoos and soaps.

We don't need another front in our nation's failed war on drugs. Please oppose the DEA's hemp ban before it is allowed to take effect.

In urgency,
Coalition to Save Hemp

P.S. Please distribute this message as widely as you can. Thank you!

Joel Miller's random fire
Get hemp to the jive
Joel Miller, WorldNetDaily.com (US Web)

With the DEA threatening to ban nonintoxicating hemp products for various, spurious reasons, I think it's wise to take a quick look at what we'll be losing if we allow this unconstitutional powergrab to go forward.

Making an end-run around the legislative process, the DEA will accomplish its hemp ban by bureaucratic fiat -- administrative rule -- and entirely skirt Congress, the constitutionally vested body for making laws. Not only does this outrageous move show flaming contempt for our representative form of government -- sidestepping those properly responsible to, and empowered by, the people to make laws -- but it also shows a grossly asinine attitude about an amazingly helpful plant.

In the next few days, I plan to use this space to catalogue just some of the valuable uses of the hemp plant and why the DEA and its supporters should think more than twice about banning its use.

Hemp as food. While the idea of wolfing down products from a plant related to marijuana might strike someone as a bit odd, there's little to fear. Because hemp has less than 1 percent THC, it's harmless in the dope category. What hemp does offer, however, are big pluses in the health category.

Hemp seed oil is a tremendously good source for the two essential fatty acids our bodies need but do not produce: omega 3s and omega 6s. What's more, despite the fact that these fatty acids can be found in some other sources, as Dr. Andrew Weil of the University of Arizona College of Medicine pointed out in a March-April 1993 article for Natural Health magazine, hemp oil contains the best ratio of omega 3s to 6s -- one to three.

A widely respected author of numerous books and articles, Dr. Weil points out that "Deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids can lead to skin diseases, heart disease and inflammatory conditions along with premature aging and disorders of the central nervous system." Further, he recommends a good intake of omega 3s "to promote cardiovascular health and protect against many cancers, including breast cancer."

And where do you get your vital fatty acids?

"Omega-3's come primarily from salmon, herring, sardines and other oily fish from cold waters, as well as from egg yolks. ..." While flaxseed will also work well, "the best source of omega-3's in the vegetable kingdom is hemp seeds." For those who are inclined toward vegetarianism, who are worried about environmental toxins in animal sources of omega 3s, or who are allergic to them (like yours truly), hemp is a Godsend for maintaining good health.

Beyond that, hemp seeds are a prime vegetable source for complete proteins, containing all eight essential amino acids -- and according to some, hemp seeds taste better than their vegetable-protein rival, soy, while also being more easily digested.

Further, as Weil's 1993 article keenly points out, hemp seeds are the only edible seeds to contain a very rare nutrient -- gamma linoleic acid, or GLA, which is an active agent in lowering cholesterol. Babies are, of course, fairly hip on GLA, since one of the primary methods of getting the nutrient is through our mother's milk.

But since nursing is out for most of us well-adjusted ruddy Americans, the question arises about how best to ingest this oh-so healthy vegetable wonder. Dr. Weil recommends simple roasting and eating the seeds. Indeed, the restaurant Cheba Hut in Tempe, Ariz., shells and roasts its own hemp seeds for its brownies and sandwiches.

Whole hemp seeds can be used for snacks, in cooking, even roasted and mixed in coffee.

Processed hemp seeds can be used to make non-dairy milk, various styles of cheese and ice cream, or ground up and used in spreads similar to peanut butter.

After the seeds have been crushed for their oil, they can be processed into protein powder (hemp seed meal contains about 25 percent protein), baking flour and can even be used in brewing beer.

Unrefined hemp oil can be taken daily as a dietary supplement or used in salad dressings and cooking in place of other vegetable oils.

For topical dry-skin care, refined hemp oil can be made into lotions and creams for your parched epidermis and can even be used to treat skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. Skin-friendly soaps are also easily made from hemp oil; mentioned only for the sake of infamy, Dr. Bronner's "magic soaps" contain hemp oil.

"Eventually," writes Eric Searleman in the Oct. 5, 2000, Arizona Republic, "even desperately behind-the-curve companies like Franco-American and Campbell's may jump on the hemp bandwagon. Who knows? Maybe someday there will even be a hemp roll-up treat for kids."

Unfortunately, if the DEA has its druthers, kids will go to jail for eating those hemp roll-ups. And, unlike hemp, jail is not nearly so healthy.

Joel Miller is the commentary editor of WorldNetDaily.

© 2001 WorldNetDaily.com (US Web)

WND, Joel Miller's Random Fire

Also visit http://www.globalhemp.com for many up to date, informative articles on the American hemp crisis.

Go Baby!