David Borden, Executive Director, [email protected], 10/12/01
The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), under new leadership in the form of long-time Congressional drug warrior Asa Hutchinson, has found a new target in its federal drug war. DEA's new crusade is sure to ensure the agency's continued relevance as law enforcement priorities are recalibrated in the wake of the September 11th attacks on our nation.
DEA's new target is foods made with hemp. According to DEA, since any hemp contains some quantity of THC, foods made with hemp are illegal. Illegal to sell, illegal to consume. Pretzels, oil, candy bars, cheese substitutes, that sort of thing. Not enough THC in them to get you high, not in a million years.
I feel safer already.
No, I really mean it. I mean, if Americans can eat food made with hemp, it's inevitable that half or more of us will find ourselves sucked into the drug culture and wind up addicted to crack cocaine.
And if you're not sure that last statement makes sense, you can be sure the DEA's hemp policy is equally well reasoned.
And perhaps illegal. Hemp has been considered an exception to the Controlled Substances Act since that act was written. Congress simply didn't mean to ban non-psychoactive hemp. After all, why would they? Regulating domestic cultivation of hemp out of existence is one thing -- that's wrong too -- but it has always been legal to import, sell and consume. DEA has no legal power to change the law. They claim that they are merely interpreting the law, that it has always been illegal; the agency just didn't bother to enforce the law this way since its founding in the 1970s, just as its predecessors didn't bother since marijuana prohibition was enacted in the 1930s.
In truth, non-psychoactive hemp is legal. DEA bureaucrats are lying about the issue in an attempt to change the law administratively, something that constitutionally only Congress is supposed to be able to do.
Which strongly suggests something that some of us in drug policy reform have felt for many years: DEA is a rogue agency run by fanatical kooks.
Do you feel safer?