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San Francisco, CA: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted the hemp industry's request to stay pending Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) regulations criminalizing the possession and manufacture of any edible hemp seed or oil products that contain trace amounts of THC - a psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. The DEA regulations, which were issued on March 21, 2003, were scheduled to take effect April 21, 2003.
Representatives from the Hemp Industry's Association (HIA), which brought the "Motion to Stay" in conjunction with seven hemp food companies, were optimistic that the Court will ultimately invalidate the DEA's rule. One of the prime criteria in granting the motion was whether the hemp industry is likely to prevail on the merits of the case.
Although some hemp products such as snack bars, veggie burgers and salad oils sometimes test positive for trace amounts of THC, there is no evidence that these levels are high enough to present any potential health or safety hazards to the consumer. Similarly, food products containing poppy seeds may test positive for trace amount of opiates.
Retail sales of hemp products currently total some $250 million dollars, according to the nonprofit organization Vote Hemp.
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