Save Hemp

Coalition to Save Hemp

Reasons to Oppose the DEA’s Plan

The DEA’s rule goes against the trend in state legislatures. In December 2000, the National Conference of State Legislatures adopted a resolution on the subject of hemp, strongly urging Congress to direct the DEA by law to revise its policies to be less restrictive and to allow states to establish state regulatory programs — in effect fostering the development of domestic hemp production by American farmers and manufacturers.

In 1999, Maryland passed a law authorizing the cultivation of hemp to give its struggling farmers an alternative to tobacco. Maryland joins Hawaii, Minnesota, and North Dakota as states that have made it legal for farmers to cultivate hemp through a pilot program. And approximately 20 other states have passed pro-hemp resolutions or are considering various types of hemp legislation.

2.We don’t need another war. Under the DEA’s new regulations, literally thousands of Americans risk arrest for using many hemp-based products. Specifically, the DEA has banned all hemp-based products that have the slightest amount of naturally occurring THC, if the THC “enters the human body.” It is impossible to get a psychoactive effect from hemp-based foods and supplements, but the DEA has banned them all nevertheless.

People who are arrested for possessing non-psychoactive hemp food products like candy bars and pretzels 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.

3.The DEA is subverting congressional intent. For more than 60 years, U.S. law has defined hemp as distinct from marijuana, and products derived from hemp are explicitly protected under federal law because they do not have the same psychoactive effect as marijuana. Banning hemp products rolls back a 64-year-old history of legal access to hemp products. During this time hemp hasn’t caused any problems or seen any abuses. 4.Hemp and marijuana are not the same. Hemp products do not cause the same psychoactive high that marijuana causes. Although hemp products contain trace amounts of naturally occurring THC — the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana — the levels of THC are too low to trigger a psychoactive effect. In short, you cannot get “high” from hemp or hemp-based products.
5.Use of hemp products does not affect performance on drug tests. The DEA wants to ban hemp food and hemp personal care products because — if they contain THC — they are “confounding our federal drug control testing programs,” according to a letter from Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey to Congresswoman Patsy T. Mink (D-Hawaii).

This is an unfounded fear. A recent study commissioned by the Canadian government indicates that “persons who frequently consume food items containing hemp seeds and oil are very unlikely to fail a workplace urine test for marijuana.” Study participants ingested the equivalent of half a pound of hemp seed per day without testing positive in a standard workplace drug test. Such reports would seem to answer concerns about the “confounding” of drug testing programs.

6.Growing hemp would bolster our economy; banning it will hurt our economy. Hemp offers American farmers a viable alternative to conventional crops — from soybeans to corn — and is a great rotation crop for declining crops like tobacco because hemp improves soil quality by restoring nitrogen and other essential minerals to the soil. Hemp has the support of the U.S. Farm Bureau, Farm Aid, and numerous grassroots organizations across the country.
7.Hemp products contain significant nutritional benefits. 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 (omega-3 alpha linolenic acid and omega-6 linoleic acid). While several vegetable oils contain these essential fatty acids, only hemp seed oil delivers them in the optimum ratio of one part omega-3 to three parts omega-6.

According to Andrew Weil, M.D., a renowned expert on food and health, the fatty acids in hemp oil promote cardiovascular health and protect against many cancers, including breast cancer. These oils are found in oily fish from cold waters — salmon, herring, and sardines, for example — but hemp is the best vegetable source of omega-3 and omega-6. In addition to essential fatty acids, hemp seed is a source of complete protein, containing all eight amino acids.

8.Hemp has numerous industrial uses and can reduce the damage to our environment. The fibers and seeds of hemp can be used to make more than 25,000 different products, including textiles, paper, paint, fuel, particleboard, and rope. Hemp oil could replace petroleum as a source for alternative fuels and plastics, while hemp fiber could replace trees as the primary source of pulp for paper and timber for construction.

The diversity of the hemp plant is impressive, but perhaps most importantly, hemp can be grown without the use of chemical pesticides because of its natural resistance to pests. As a result, the use of hemp-based products can reduce soil, water, and air pollution.

Comments are closed.