Posts Tagged ‘industrial hemp’

In the Public Interest
On October 9, 2001, the DEA issued rulings which effectively ban hemp foods, products which are clearly not abused as illicit drugs. Food is currently the largest U.S. market for industrial hemp. Concerned citizens should urge their members of Congress to contact DEA and oppose its latest industrial hemp rule making.

by Ralph Nader
DEA Bans Industrial Hemp Foods

Why is the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) mounting an attack on pastas, cereals and salad dressings, among other products? Instead of spending taxpayer money on more pressing and worthy issues, on October 9, 2001, the DEA issued rulings which effectively ban hemp foods. Industrial hemp is the non-drug cousin of marijuana.

Food is currently the largest U.S. market for industrial hemp. Estimated retail sales for hemp food and body care products in the United States exceeded $25 million in 2000, up from less than $1 million in the early 1990s. Hemp foods and body care products have penetrated the mainstream market and rapid growth was expected prior to DEA’s actions. Industrial hemp seed and oil are increasingly used in corn chips, nutrition bars, hummus, nondairy milks, breads and cereals.

Currently, the DEA treats industrial hemp as a Schedule I controlled substance–the most highly restricted category (more tightly controlled than opium or cocaine). Industrial hemp which contains only trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana, should not be regulated as an illicit drug, since it has no intoxicating effect when consumed. While the DEA effectively bans growing industrial hemp (largely on the fallacious grounds that agents cannot distinguish the crop from marijuana), until October 9, it permitted use of the product, which can be only imported, in food. Now, the agency is seemingly rolling back the common sense exemption. Last month, DEA issued new rules which prohibit human consumption of any hemp products containing any amount of THC.

DEA’s overzealousness in apparently banning products which are clearly not abused as illicit drugs is greatly misguided. The trace amount of THC in hemp foods (typically less than 1.5 and 5 parts per million respectively) are far too low to produce a high and are about as likely to be abused as a poppy seed bagel–which contains trace amounts of opiates.

Virtually all hemp foods on the U.S. market do not contain detectable THC levels, according to the official testing method used on foods in Canada. A recent study published in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology shows that this minute amount is generally not enough for an individual to fail a highly sensitive drug test–purportedly one of DEA’s main concerns–even after eating an unrealistic amount of hemp foods daily.

Poppy seeds are more likely to cause the problems the DEA fears. Poppy seeds’ trace opiates have sometimes led individuals, who have merely ingested poppy seed bagels or muffins, to fail a drug test. To this problem, the U.S. government responded sensibly, raising drug-test thresholds for opiates in the 1990s to accommodate the poppy seed industry.

DEA states that it has “attempted to strike a fair balance between protecting the health and safety of all Americans and accommodating legitimate industry.” In fact, the apparent ban on hemp foods is a strike both against the burgeoning industrial hemp industry and the health of Americans. It is an attack on the entire industry of industrial hemp, because while the greatest future market for industrial hemp products is predicted to be automobile parts–industrial hemp is an excellent and cost efficient replacement for fiberglass parts–the crop’s current largest market is considered to be foods. It is important to maintain the industry now, so that when the United States repeals its irrational restrictions on industrial hemp, it can quickly expand use of this environmentally benign product. (Among its other environmental benefits, industrial hemp can be a particularly sustainable crop which minimizes toxics in our environment, because it can easily be grown with few or no chemicals and its natural brightness avoids chlorine bleaching in papermaking.)

Hemp foods offer real health benefits. Industrial hemp seeds are one of the best source of omega-3 fatty acids in the vegetable kingdom, according to Dr. Andrew Weil–the Harvard educated physician and noted expert on medicinal herbs. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential in the protection against many cancers including breast cancer and in the promotion of cardiovascular health. Other health specialists confirm the nutritional value of hemp foods.

Recognizing the various benefits of industrial hemp, in recent years, numerous countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany have amended their industrial hemp laws to legalize the cultivation of the crop and the production of a variety of end-products, such as fuel, paper, building materials, rope, foods, cosmetics and automobile parts. Other countries, such as France, China,Romania and Hungary, having never outlawed the crop, continue to cultivate, manufacture and export industrial hemp.

As the rest of the world moves forward to capture the market potential of this useful and beneficial crop, the DEA has taken the United States a step backward. Beware, your poppy seed bagel could be next.

Concerned citizens should urge their members of Congress to contact DEA and oppose its latest industrial hemp rule making. Citizens can also write to the Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of Diversion Control, Drug Enforcement Administration, Washington, DC 20537, Attention: DEA Federal Register Representative/CCD.

For other action items, visit the www.votehemp.com <http://www.votehemp.com>  site’s Action Alert section. For additional information on the hemp food ban and industrial hemp in general, visit the www.naihc.org<http://www.naihc.org> , www.thehia.org <http://www.thehia.org>  and www.rca-info.org<http://www.rca-info.org>  websites.

On Wed Sept. 28th, Will and I went to the LA Galaxy Champions league game against Monselia. We picked up 2 $40 tickets for $15 each in case we couldn’t jump a fence. It ended up being a waste because we found a spot on the press box.

I got careless and rushed my technique. The was a railing to catch my foot on the stadium side of the fence but it was just out of reach while holding on to the fence so I grabbed a cement rafter to turn around. My grip slipped and I almost fell which I would have resulted in my leg getting caught as I catapulted the back of my head straight into the cement. Fortunately, my angel caught my finger tip on the edge and guided me safely down.

Once inside we sat with the press on the first row of the 50 and got in some of the tv and media shots. Then we were asked to stay above the front section so we got some lounge chairs for the 2nd half.

It was tied going into injury time as LA scored in the last minute off a corner to avoid elimination from the tournament.

Thursday night I stopped at the Lawndale soccer fields to get a workout in and met some Turkish friends to play with on the winter league.

Friday the 30th, Sung/Sean and I went to a Dead cover band in Long Beach called Cubansis. On the way Sung got pulled over and fined $500 for tossing a burning item out of a moving vehicle.

Saturday was the beginning of the Occupy LA march and protests so I spent the day downtown. I met several wonderful new friends, including a few cute girls who would later dance the night away with me at the LA Decompression Burningman festival until the sun started rising over historic park.

I went back to the rally after the girls went home and Will was up playing cards still. It was almost 5 by the time I laid down in the van and then I got up at 7 to take the train home.

As soon as I got back Sung was ready to go to an Art walk event. An old brewery was closed down and remodeled into an artist commune. The place was amazing with all the self expression covering over 100 unique studios. There was a studio open for rent to consider for Shhmokewear but it was not available for viewing. It took us 4 hours to visit all the studios and then it was time for dinner. We stopped at a restaurant in Chinatown where a lot of movie scenes have been filmed in front. It was nice to have authentic sweet and sour pork and Saskatchewan chicken and $10 a plate was fair for L.A.

The next morning, Monday, I headed back to Shhmokewear to get the business plan done. After work Will and I went to City Hall to protest again with Occupy LA. We made several new friends each time we went over there. It was basically a big festival with media around. There is a tent for everything from general store to food and recycling. There are compost bins and drum circles and everyone barters and shares.

It is basically a temporary unitopia of traditional life like the old west gold towns. Unfortunate that there is not a continuous string of such events in more local areas for others to experience. The Occupy rallies would continue on in most major US cities for several months of 2011.

We went to the rally Monday and Tuesday but then Wednesday I went to the Further Fest at the Greek Theatre. You can take the train 15 blocks from the theater near Vermont and Hollywood and then bike up to the park. The first night I went straight to the Hyde Observatory above the theater to watch the show for free. I went in the wrong entrance and took an extra 20 minutes hiking up the Hyde trail.

Once I got to the top I discovered you could park for free at the top vs. Paying 15 down below. The trail by Hyde has several spots to put a chair or blanket down to watch the show plus you get an amazing view of the LA and Hollywood sky lines.

The temps dropped to 40 and I started shivering so I rode down to the theater to scope out ways to get in. The fence top was flat in front but extra security was on duty to stop jumpers. You could climb the hill in back and get over but you need a spotter on the inside to let u know a good time to come over. Once over you need to remove your hat and mix into the crowd to avoid being chased.

The next night Will, Brian and I rode with Scott and his lady to Furthur. This time I was in the lot 3 hours ahead of the show to experience the touring  flea market. It was quite an experience seeing all the colorful characters and their art creations they sell to survive on the tour.

We spent too long promoting Shhmokewear and waiting for scalpers to sell cheap before deciding to hop the back fence so the cross lot was taped off and being secured by security. I ran diversion while Brian and Will snuck around. After that I waited for 20 minutes before giving up. I went by the front gate so I could see the screen and hand out with the other members of Shhmoke that were there.

After the show we set up our merch in the path leading everyone back to their cars and we put Shhmoke cards on the luxury cars. It is a great way to break the ice with attractive people you want to meet.

Friday Will and I went camping. He showed me the sacred Oaji hot springs and hiking trails. We camped and cooked some grub about midnight after several hours of full moon yoga and hot springs rituals.

Saturday we hiked all day and swam in a freezing fresh spring water hole and then returned to Occupy LA.

The weekend group was 2x the size of the week day groups. All areas of the block and park were completely covered and there were now tippis and plywood walls for graffiti art in true Venice skater form. This night there was a community projector theater and we contributed Russo’s Freedom to Fascism.

After meeting several more new activist friends we headed back to the pad around 2am.

Sunday I toured Mariachi plaza shops for hand-made leather crafts then biked with 100,000+ at CiclaVia.org. The city of LA closed downtown and 40 other blocks to biking only to promote green living and transportation. It was amazing. There were events and bands on several streets and parks and it joined with the Long Beach south bay tri-athalon. I rode most of the route and then spent the afternoon making new friends playing volleyball and Manhattan beach.

I especially enjoyed meeting 8 new lady yogi friends who are in LA for a 9 week training by the airport. They were very friendly and added our LA Fun facebook group to keep in touch for future gatherings.

When I finally made it home for a night, Sung’s friend Neil was temporarily staying with us because the job we helped move him to San Diego for, had fallen apart. He was staying with us while lining up a new Dr. position.

We caught up on the weeks events and then passed out. Monday morning (10/7) I hit the hot tub, swam some laps, pumped some iron, did my yoga and then headed back to the Shhmokewear head quarters.