Natural Foods Merchandiser

Feds Give Up Legal Fight on Hemp Foods

Hemp foods will remain legal in the United States, as the Bush administration declined to appeal a Ninth Circuit Court decision, which held that trace amounts of psychoactive ingredients in hemp seeds and oil are as inconsequential as the trace opiates in poppy seeds.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration let a Sept. 28 deadline pass without appealing the decision to the Supreme Court. That marked the end of a three-year legal battle over whether hemp-enriched foods should be banned under the Controlled Substances Act.

Advocates expect demand for hemp products to rise as consumers discover its health benefits. Hemp seeds contain high concentrations of omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, plus a digestible and efficient form of protein.

?The industry should have been focused on marketplace promotion and consumer education, rather than flushing over $200,000 down the drain battling pointless DEA hysteria,? said Eric Steenstra, executive director of Vote Hemp.

Alexis Baden-Mayer, director of government affairs for Vote Hemp, said her organization will now turn its attention to repealing federal laws that prohibit growing industrial hemp.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXV/number 11/p. 10

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