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Appeals Court REjects DEA Bid to Outlaw Hemp Foods

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  • Carolpippin@aol.com
    ... http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/news/archive/2003/06/30/sta te1418EDT0058.DTL DAVID KRAVETS, AP Legal Affairs Writer Monday, June 30,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 2 10:22 AM
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      >>Health Issues
      >  Appeals Court Rejects DEA Bid to Outlaw Hemp Foods

      http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/news/archive/2003/06/30/sta
      te1418EDT0058.DTL

      DAVID KRAVETS, AP Legal Affairs Writer
      Monday, June 30, 2003 
      SAN FRANCISCO (AP)

      A federal appeals court on Monday overturned a U.S. Drug Enforcement
      Administration ban on the sale of food containing hemp, saying the agency
      failed to give enough advance warning or allow for public comment before
      imposing the rule.

      The 2-1 ruling Monday by a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
      did not decide the constitutionality of a hemp food ban, but merely
      determined that the government did not follow proper bureaucratic
      procedure when it announced the ban in October 2001.

      In March, the DEA began comporting with the federal Administrative
      Procedures Act, and has been sued again by the hemp industry in a
      challenge now pending before the appellate court. The ban has been put on
      hold pending legal challenges.

      In a sharp dissent, Judge Alex Kozinski called the majority's ruling
      "gratuitous," and predicted the ban will ultimately prevail. "The most
      likely outcome," he wrote, "is that we will uphold the regulation."

      Hemp is an industrial plant related to marijuana. Fiber from hemp plants
      long has been used to make paper, clothing, rope and other products. Its
      oil is found in body-care products such as lotion, soap and cosmetics and
      in a host of foods, including energy bars, waffles, milk-free cheese,
      veggie burgers and bread.

      "We feel strongly that our arguments are bona fide and the court is
      listening," said Patrick Goggin, lawyer for the San Francisco-based Hemp
      Industries Association, the plaintiff in the case. "We feel reservedly
      confident that we are going to get ultimately a favorable decision,"
      Goggin said. "Hemp is a wonder crop."

      Last year, DEA attorney Daniel Dormont told the appellate court the
      agency banned food made with hemp because "there's no way of knowing"
      whether some products may get consumers high.

      Hemp food sellers say their products are full of nutrition, not drugs,
      and they require no pesticide. They say the food contains such a small
      amount of the active ingredient in marijuana that it's impossible to get
      high.

      The DEA declared that food products containing even trace amounts of
      tetrahydrocannabinol -- the psychoactive chemical known as THC that is
      found in marijuana and sometimes in hemp -- were banned under the
      Controlled Substances Act.

      DEA spokesman Ed Childress refused to comment, saying that the DEA is
      still studying Monday's court decision.

      The administration ordered a halt to the production and distribution of
      all goods containing THC that were intended for human consumption. The
      DEA also ordered all such products destroyed or removed from the United
      States, but the 9th Circuit suspended that order pending a decision.

      The case is Hemp Industries Association v. Drug Enforcement
      Administration, 01-71662.
      ------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Editors: David Kravets has been covering state and federal courts for a
      decade.


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