Hemp Industry Confident, Awaits Court Decision Market for Industrial Hemp Continues to Expand, Hemp Paper In Staples Stores this Week

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - U.S. COURT of APPEALS for the NINTH CIRCUIT – Lawyers representing the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) argued before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last week that the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA’s) attempt to ban nutritious hemp foods misinterprets the Controlled Substances Act and violates the Administrative Procedures Act. The case will now be reviewed by the three-judge panel, and a final decision is expected anytime within the next three to nine months. In the meantime, hemp foods will remain on stores shelves due to the Court’s stay of the DEA rule issued on March 7, 2001. David Bronner, Chair of the HIA’s Food and Oil Committee, stated: “Hemp food companies are focused on promoting hemp seed’s exceptional nutritional profile and continuing the phenomenal market growth for their products. We’re confident that the Court will permanently invalidate DEA’s rule.”

The hemp fiber sector of the industrial hemp market has not been affected by DEA’s recent actions and likewise continues to expand rapidly into the mainstream consumer market. This week, Living Tree Paper Company of Eugene, Oregon will begin selling reams of Vanguard Recycled Plus™, a 90% post-consumer waste, 10% hemp printer/copier paper in over 1000 Staples™ super stores. With this move, Staples, Inc., a Massachusetts-based, $11-billion retailer of office supplies, joins over 40 Fortune 500 companies who have pledged to phase out virgin-wood papers and introduce environmental alternatives. A leader in developing non-wood and post-consumer waste papers since 1995, Living Tree Paper Company supplies clients such as Mitsubishi, Nike and Patagonia.

“Ten years ago it was virtually impossible to find hemp paper on store shelves. Now hemp paper is available in over 1000 office super stores,” says Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp. “Living Tree Paper Company’s success in penetrating the mainstream consumer market will mean fewer trees are cut down to make paper and the demand for hemp fiber will continue to expand. We urge anyone concerned about preserving our forests to buy hemp paper and tell a friend.”

Despite the increased use of hemp in products ranging from paper to car parts to ice cream, U.S farmers will not benefit because the federal government does not permit non-psychoactive industrial hemp cultivation. In fact, the over $150 million a year worth of hemp products sold in the United States are made solely from hemp imported from Canada, Europe and China. However, fourteen states have passed hemp legislation, demonstrating hemp’s legitimacy as an agro-industrial crop. The first hemp bill was introduced in Colorado in 1995 and more than 25 states have since considered industrial hemp legislation. Recently, West Virginia’s governor signed into law a bill to allow hemp cultivation, and Hawaii’s governor is expected to sign legislation that will extend for 5 years the one-acre hemp test plot research program in that state. To view a list of state action on industrial hemp, please visit http://www.votehemp.com/state_legis.html.

Background on the Hemp Food Issue The hemp food issue erupted on October 9, 2001 when the DEA issued an interpretive rule purporting to make hemp foods containing harmless infinitesimal traces of naturally-occurring THC immediately illegal under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970. Because trace infinitesimal THC in hemp seed is non-psychoactive and insignificant, the U.S. Congress exempted non-viable hemp seed and oil from control under the CSA, just as Congress exempted poppy seeds from the CSA, although they contain trace opiates otherwise subject to control. Retailers have been reassured that hemp food products should remain on the shelves with the Court’s Stay in effect and expected invalidation of DEA’s rule.

Independent studies and reviews conducted by foreign governments have confirmed that trace THC found in the increasingly popular hemp foods cannot cause psychoactivity or other health effects, or result in a confirmed positive drug test for marijuana, even when unrealistically large amounts of hemp seed and oil are consumed daily. Hemp seeds and oil are as likely to be “abused” as poppy seed bagels for their trace opiate content, or fruit juices because of their trace alcohol content. Yet, DEA has not tried to ban poppy seed bagels despite their trace opiates that have interfered with workplace drug testing, which hemp foods do not.

Visit www.VoteHemp.com to read court documents and numerous scientific studies re: hemp foods. For more information or to arrange interviews with representatives of the hemp industry, please call Adam Eidinger at 202-986-6186 or 202-744-2671 (cell).

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