A Service of the Hemp Industries Association
For Immediate Release
September 30, 1999
Drug Enforcement Agency Attacks Canadian Hemp Mogul
Demands All Birdseed Be Recalled
Pain Court, Ontario. The Industrial Hemp Industry faces its greatest legal
challenge as a Southern Ontario hemp farmer fights for the right to export
hemp materials to the United States.
On August 9th, US Customs officials seized a truck carrying sterilized hemp
seed grown at the Kenex farm near Chatham, Ontario. U.S. Customs and the
DEA then demanded that Kenex, Canada's leading producer and processor of
industrial hemp products, recall previous shipments of other hemp products
such as oil, granola bars, horse bedding and animal feed.
These actions were taken even though all of the products are clearly legal
under the US CODE (TITLE 21, SECTION 802.16) and many have been sold in the
U.S. for years.
The effect of this action on the hemp industry is staggering, and it
threatens Canadian farmers as well as American manufacturers. Kenex
president, Jean Laprise says, "Kenex, along with many other U.S. companies,
are suffering irreparable damages due to the illegal actions taken by the
DEA and US Customs. It seems like the DEA could be spending the taxpayer's
drug war money in better ways than chasing around after bird seed and horse
U.S. Customs is threatening $500,000 in fines against Kenex if their
granola bars, oil, animal feed and other products are not redelivered to
Detroit Customs in the next few days. These fines are in addition to the
fines and possible criminal charges that may be laid in relation to the
birdseed load itself. A 30 day extension request to clarify the situation
was denied by U.S. Customs.
U.S. Companies stand to lose tens of millions of dollars or be forced out
of business as a result of the DEA's actions. Canada is now the only source
for sterilized hemp seeds and hemp seed oil in North America.
Hemp industry leaders also claim that DEA is systematically trying to put
the hemp birdseed industry out of business by harassing sterilizers whose
services allow hemp seed to be legally imported to the U.S. Most recently,
a seed sterilizer in New Jersey voluntarily relinquished their DEA license
to handle hemp seed due to the extreme demands by DEA to police their
clients and to complete voluminous amounts of paperwork. In 1994, there
were 5 seed sterilizers in the United States; now there are none.
"The DEA's action endangers the nascent Canadian hemp industry," said Hemp
Industries Association president Cindy Biggers. "Canadian government and
farmers have worked too hard getting hemp off the ground to let the US
government mess things up."
Kenex is now considering the possibility of filing a NAFTA case which would
pit Health Canada against the US DEA.
Jean Laprise says, "All the proper documentation has been supplied to
Customs in the past in accordance with our custom broker's instructions.
Kenex has always acted in good faith and has never violated any U.S. laws.
Our legal counsel has advised us that the DEA and U.S. Customs are acting
in clear violation of U.S. laws as well as NAFTA."
Mari Kane, Hemp Industries Association Press Director, Tel: 707- 887-7508,
C. Penn, HIA Secretary Tel: 707 874 3648 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Websites: http://thehia.org & http://hempstores.com