November 18, 1999
DEA Lifts Hemp Seed Embargo
1999, Pain Court, Ontario: In a major victory for the hemp industry,
the Drug Enforcement Agency has lifted a recent hemp seed embargo and is now
allowing sterilized seeds from Canada into the United States.
In August, the DEA instructed U.S. Customs to stop the importation of all hemp seed products into the U.S. The first seizure was a 53,000 pound load of sterilized birdseed imported by Kenex Ltd. That shipment remains in Customs' storage, pending an agreement between Kenex and the DEA.
Since THC is considered a controlled substance under U.S. federal law, the DEA initially took a hard line stance on seeds containing as low as 14 parts per million THC. U.S. Customs has now been instructed to allow shipments of hemp seed products containing trace amounts of THC to enter the country.
"The DEA tried to expand their jurisdiction by a twisted interpretation of the Controlled Substances Act, but their attempt to change the rules threatened to destroy the Canadian farmers and industries who invested in this remarkable crop and totally violated the NAFTA treaty," said Don Wirtshafter of the Ohio Hempery. "In the end, the DEA had to back down due to industry pressure and high level complaints from the Canadian Embassy in Washington. Hopefully, now, the hemp industry can pick up the pieces and recover from this low blow."
"We got the zero tolerance policy reversed, and basically got the DEA to abide by US law," said Jean Laprise, Kenex owner. "We accomplished our goal and are looking forward to doing a bigger business in the future."
For more information, please contact Don Wirtshafter of the Ohio Hempery at (740) 662-4367; Jean Laprise of Kenex at (519) 351-9922; Tom Dean Esq., NORML Foundation Litigation Director at (202) 483-8751.
Arkansas NORML Files Initiative To Decriminalize Marijuana
1999, Little Rock, AR: Arkansas state Attorney General Mark Pryor has
approved the wording for an initiative that would lessen the fine and eliminate
jail time for small amounts of marijuana possession.
The initiative, presented by Arkansas NORML's Glen Schwartz, proposes "Any person who knowingly or intentionally is in unlawful possession of one ounce or less of marijuana is guilty of a violation, punishable by a fine of not more than $200."
The current penalty in Arkansas for possession of less than one ounce of marijuana is up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine.
"This is a counter-attack on the war on drugs," Schwartz said. "By asking people to sign the petition it at least allows for them to consider the issue."
With the petition's wording approved, Arkansas NORML now must obtain 58,481 signatures by next July for the initiative to appear on the 2000 ballot.
For more information, please contact Glen Schwartz of Arkansas NORML at (501) 568-1598.
Anti-Drug Organization Suggests Drug Testing Kids As A Way To 'Openly Communicate'
1999, West Palm Beach, FL: A drug prohibitionist group in Florida
began to give out thousands of drug testing kits this week to Broward and Orange
County community leaders for free distribution to parents who request them.
Parents will be able to collect the urine sample from their children and anonymously send the sample to a laboratory. Laboratory expenses will be paid by the anti-drug group Drug Free America, who are distributing the tests.
Former Secretary of State and NATO Commander Gen. Alexander Haig, spokesperson for Drug Free America, said, "The kits and this campaign afford parents the opportunity to openly communicate their views of drug use to their children."
"While NORML opposes the use of marijuana by kids, drug testing children hardly encourages 'open communications' between a parent and child," noted Allen St. Pierre, NORML Foundation Executive Director.
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Foundation Executive Director at (202) 483-8751. To request a free drug test kit, visit http://www.drugscreen.com.
This Week At NORML
NORML Executive Director Keith Stroup participated in a drug policy forum in Albuquerque, New Mexico, sponsored by the New Mexico Drug Policy Foundation. Steven Bunch of NMDPF scheduled this event as the second in a series of public forums to support Governor Gary Johnson's (R-NM) call for marijuana legalization. Besides participating in the forum, NORML also took out a half page ad in the editorial section of the Albuquerque Journal. The ad proudly states, "Governor Johnson is right. We should stop arresting responsible marijuana smokers."
NORML Foundation Executive Director Allen St. Pierre was invited by ABCnews.com to debate online U.S. Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey on the medical use of marijuana. This was a rare opportunity to present the facts, in a point/counterpoint setting, supporting medical marijuana against the half-truths of the drug czar's office. To view the debate please visit: http://abcnews.go.com/sections/us/TakingSides/takingsides3.html.