|THE OTTAWA CITIZEN
October 5, 1999
KENEX SEED SEIZED AT U.S. BORDER
Hemp grower plans to take battle to court
By Jack Aubry
A Canadian Goose couldn’t get high on the stuff but 20 tons of Ontario birdseed has been confiscated at the Windsor-Detroit border crossing as part of the U.S. war on drugs.
The truckload of bird feed, which is sterilized seeds processed from industrial hemp, has been sitting in a Detroit warehouse since early August after the U.S. Customs Service swooped down on it at the border.
It’s very silly. They are telling us that this a truck full of marijuana when in fact a bag couldn’t get a buzz from the seed, said Jean Laprise from this Chatham-area farm on Monday.
Laprise says instead of enforcing the law, the U.S. drug officials are making it up because American legislation clearly exempts sterilized hemp seed from its list of controlled substances.
He estimates the value of the birdseed at $35,000 and says he is now
being threatened with fines of about $500,000 if he doesn’t recall already shipped products.
The only mind-altering threat posed by the birdseed sitting in
Detroit, which has a THC content of 0.0014 per cent, comes from trying
to imagine how minuscule its psychoactive component is to its consumer. Fourteen parts per million THC would hardly make a bird
chirp, let alone reach a higher altitude.
Furthermore, some of that seed, and products made from the seed, may be contaminated with THC. The agency’s position is that any product containing any amount of THC can only be imported into the U.S. by a company that is appropriately registered with DEA.
John Roulac, the president of Nutiva, a California company which has
been supplied by Kenex, called the confiscation crazy.
Roulac says the publicity about the seizure has outraged Kenex’s U.S.
customers, who are buying its hemp seeds and fibres for food and beauty products. He says he has sold 100,000 hemp bars in the
past five months and drug enforcement officers are trying to shut down the