Weed Watch: Oh, All Right, Eat the Hemp

Feds give up three-year effort to ban foods with hemp seeds and oil

After years of legal wrangling and posturing, the feds have finally given up their quest to ban food products containing hemp seeds and oils. On Sept. 28, the Hemp Industries Association claimed victory after the feds declined to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court a ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals protecting the sale of hemp-containing foods. "This is a huge victory of the hemp industry," said David Bronner, chair of the HIA's food and oil committee and president of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps. "The Bush administrations decision not to appeal ... means the three-year-old legal battle over hemp seed products is finally over."

In 2001, the Drug Enforcement Administration declared that hemp food products were subject to federal regulation under the Controlled Substances Act because they contain trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. The feds were disabused of their zany notion by the 9th Circuit, which granted the HIA a permanent injunction, squashing the government's plans to clear store shelves of the offending products. The feds threatened to appeal to the Supremes, but decided last week to avoid further meddling. Eric Steenstra, executive director of Vote Hemp – a nonprofit that aims to expand the hemp market – told the Drug Reform Coordination Network the feds' action was a big waste of time and money. "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," he said.

In other news: Drug policy reformers gained a new and unexpected ally last week when bow-tied conservative talking head Tucker Carlson (of CNN's Crossfire and PBS's Unfiltered) made a satellite drop-in on Bill Maher's HBO series Real Time. In response to a "hypothetical" question from Maher on whether a president caught using drugs should face the same fate – that is, incarceration – as other drug users, Carlson was incredulous. "No!" he told Maher. "Look, if a responsible person who is not bothering anyone uses drugs you should leave them alone."

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Weed Watch
Raich Still Fighting for Medi-Pot Rights
Raich Still Fighting for Medi-Pot Rights
Medical marijuana patient - not to mention its fiercest advocate - Angel Raich, back in federal court

Jordan Smith, April 14, 2006

Naked City
Naked City
More DOJ Med-Mari Busts

Jordan Smith, Sept. 17, 2004

More by Jordan Smith
'Chrome Underground' Goes Classic Car Hunting
'Chrome Underground' Goes Classic Car Hunting
Motoreum's Yusuf & Antonio talk about the biz and their reality TV debut

May 22, 2014

Eighth Inmate of the Year Set to Die
Eighth Inmate of the Year Set to Die
Eighth inmate of the year set to die

May 9, 2014


Hemp Industries Association, HIA, David Bronner, Eric Steenstra, Vote Hemp, DRCNet, Weed Watch, hemp food, DEA, Tucker Carlson

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle