Death Penalty for Hemp Shampoo
The federal government is taking intervention to the next level of absurdity by banning hemp shampoo and soap. Once the hemp ban is implemented, violators could be fined up to $10,000 and be put in prison for one year. If someone is arrested with a stockpile of hemp products that weighs hundreds of pounds, the defendant would face a 5- or 10-year mandatory minimum prison sentence or even the death penalty under federal law.
by Fred E. Foldvary, Senior Editor
On November 30, 2000, the Drug Enforcement Agency of the USA announced that it intends to prohibit hemp products, including shampoo, soap, and food made from hemp seeds. These seeds are not psychoactive, and the hemp shampoo will not get you a drug "high" or have the effects of drugs.
Hemp is related to marijuana plants, which have been illegal, and hemp products contain trace amounts of naturally occurring tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the intoxicating ingredient found in marijuana. The DEA's proposed rule seeks to revise federal regulations to include both naturally occurring and synthetic THC, making both equally illegal.
It is currently illegal to grow hemp, but legal to use hemp products. Besides personal-care products such as soap, hemp is used to make paper, clothing, and rope. Perhaps these too will be banned someday in the FDAs war on anything that may slightly resemble marijuana.
The DEA intends to classify hemp the same as marijuana, putting it in Schedule I, the most restrictive category in federal law, with the same legal status as heroin and other dangerous drugs.
The THC in food made with hemp seeds is so tiny that even people who consume these frequently are very unlikely to test positive for marijuana (see http://www.naihc.org/hemp_information/content/ THC_emp_drug_testing.html). Even if the purpose of the hemp ban is to prevent hemp consumers from failing drug tests, in reality this has not been a problem.
Besides the benefits to farmers as another crop they could grow, hemp has nutritional benefits. Hemp seed oil is one of the best natural sources of essential fatty acids, 3 alpha linolenic acid and omega 6 linoleic acid. Several vegetable oils contain these also, but only hemp seed oil delivers them in the optimum ratio of one part omega 3 to three parts omega 6, according to the information in http://www.savehemp.org.
The tendency of a government bureaucracy is to expand its power, and if it fails in its mission, it then seeks more power. The government can no more win its war against hemp than it could win the war against alcohol during Prohibition. In frustration, the government will seek ever more draconian power.
Expanded civil asset forfeiture would be the next step. Those suspected of possibly having bought hemp shampoo or soap or eating hemp seed cakes would have their house, car, and bank account seized, without any trial or conviction. Perhaps they will send dogs sniffing for hemp around the neighborhood, and if they go "woof!" near your house, all your possessions will be confiscated. There is no policy too ridiculous for the US war on drugs.
You could go to Oppose The Ban to voice your opposition. They have sample letters than can be sent to government representatives by email.
-- Fred Foldvary
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Copyright 2001 by Fred E. Foldvary. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, which includes but is not limited to facsimile transmission, photocopying, recording, rekeying, or using any information storage or retrieval system, without giving full credit to Fred Foldvary and The Progress Report.