A court decision has stalled the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in their effort to completely ban all hemp foods from the US market.
On March 21, 2003, the DEA issued a ruling that would have banned all edible hemp products from the US. The DEA rules classified any food products that contain any detectable level THC as illegal.
“THC is illegal,” a DEA representative told the media. “Therefore, any product that would cause THC to enter the body would be an illegal product.”
A coalition of hemp importers and exporters challenged the DEA ruling in the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, and won a stay. This means that the DEA rules will not go into effect until the court can review them.
This was the DEA’s second try at banning all hemp foods from the US. They issued a similar edict in October 2001, but it never went into effect because the hemp industry won a stay in the Court of Appeals in March 2002.
Canadian regulations limit THC content in hemp food products to 10 parts per million. Conventional testing procedures cannot detect THC at levels below one part per million. These levels are thousands of times lower than those required for any mind-altering effect.
Canadian farmers grew almost 4,000 acres of hemp in 2002, down from a high of 34,000 acres planted in 1999. Much of the Canadian production is grown for export into the US, where hemp cultivation is completely illegal.
Hemp seeds contain about 35% protein by weight, and are high in amino acids and essential fatty acids, recommended for good health.
The seeds themselves do not contain THC; the presence of trace amounts in hempseed oil is caused by tiny bits of plant matter which can remain on the seed after harvesting.