McCaffrey's Directive:

McCaffrey' Latest Directive - 3/5/00: Please share this with those who should be informed about this issue.  Explain that this is in flux, but we need to urge our elected officials to step in and help.

Barry McCaffrey of the National Office on Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) just issued a March 5 directive to U.S. Customs Commissioner Raymond Kelly and to Donnie Marshall, Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). His 3/5/00 directive is called "Drug Control Policy Guidance." 

McCaffrey's Drug Control Policy Guidance states that products made from cannabis sativa can contain THC. Therefore Customs must follow the Controlled Substance Act (CSA) which lists THC as a Schedule 1 substance. McCaffrey claims that the CSA overrides earlier laws which had permitted hemp (exclusive of seeds, buds, leaves) to come into the U.S.

McCaffrey then claims many such hemp products contain THC and declares that importation of hemp products containing THC will become the stalking horse for the legalization of marijuana.

He then tells U.S. law enforcement (DEA) and Customs to cite the CSA as the reason for not allowing products containing THC into the U.S. He declares that cultivation of cannabis under the guise of agricultural economy cannot be allowed to undermine his drug control policy.

Because of McCaffrey's directive, evidently U.S. Customs is looking at any product labeled "hemp" as possibly containing THC and therefore subject to seizure and testing.

I don't believe that Customs will overreact, but you should be prepared. Customs does not seem to be happy that McCaffrey is putting them in the position of seizing hemp products. They were burned by the Kenex matter, when the real responsibility for that seizure belongs to McCaffrey. However, at this point, Customs has its marching orders from McCaffrey.

In a recent seizure of hemp imports, Customs even seized hemp based soap. If it is found to contain trace elements of THC, then McCaffrey's 3/5/00 letter means Customs will have to deny the soap entry. This is how absurd the situation has become.

Please contact your Congressional delegation and ask them to help. Explain how many U.S. businesses depend upon hemp imports from Canada and other nations, and to cut off these sources will be devastating. Remember, when Customs seizes and tests a product, even if it is found not to contain THC, Customs will charge the importer or exporter storage fees. So the cost of a hemp product escalates.


Please write to Janet Reno, U.S. Attorney General protesting McCaffrey's actions in ordering Customs and DEA to reverse their longstanding and correct interpretation of the law. Customs and DEA
don't want to spend their time chasing after and seizing industrial hemp products that won't get anyone high. McCaffrey is out of line and out of control. Please explain to Attorney General Reno the impact this has
on your companies, and the fact that these products always have been legally imported into the USA.
Janet Reno, U.S. Attorney General
Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20530

Please keep the pressure up. The borders most impacted to date seem to be Buffalo and Detroit.

Aloha, Rep. Cynthia Thielen


According to "Title VII Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 1998: H11225":

The Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy is "appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, and shall serve at the pleasure of the President."


Drug Czar Blasts Illinois Hemp Bill

Washington, D.C. 20503

February 28, 2000

The Honorable Michael J. Madigan Speaker of the House
Illinois House of Representatives

Dear Mr. Speaker:

The purpose of this letter is to inform you of the federal government's views on "industrial hemp" as the Illinois House of Representatives considers House Bill 3559, which would create the "Industrial Hemp Act."

Under the Controlled Substances Act, the definition of marijuana includes all parts of the Cannabis sativa plant except for the sterilized seeds, fiber from stalks, and oil or cake made from the seeds. However, all hemp products that contain any quantity of THC are considered Schedule I controlled substances and cannot be imported into the United States or cultivated domestically without DEA registration and permits for importation.

Over the past two years, the DEA has received information that sterilized cannabis seeds, not solely birdseed, has been imported for the manufacture of food products intended for human consumption. DEA also learned from the Armed Forces and other federal agencies that individuals who tested positive for marijuana use subsequently raised their consumption of these food products as a defense against positive drug tests. Consequently, the Administration is reviewing the importation of cannabis seeds and oil because of their THC content. The National institute on Drug Abuse is studying the effect of ingesting hemp products on urinalyses and other drug tests.

The federal government is concerned that hemp cultivation may be a stalking horse of the legalization of marijuana. According to a recent report of the Department of Agriculture, U.S. markets for hemp fiber (specialty textiles, paper, and composites) and seed (in food or crushed for oil) are, and will likely remain, small and thin. U.S. imports of hemp fiber, yarn, and fabric and seed in 1999 could have been produced on less than 5,000 acres of land. Also, the potential exists for these markets to quickly become oversupplied. Uncertainty about long-run demand for hemp products and the potential for oversupply discounts the prospects for hemp as an economically viable alternative crop for America farmers.


Barry R. McCaffrey Director