FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Pubdate: September 24, 1999
DEA Seizes “Birdseed” as Schedule I Narcotic
Contact Jean Laprise: (519) 351-9922 or (519) 436-8025
Detroit, Michigan – The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has declared war
on Canada’s industrial hemp industries. On August 9, 1999 it seized a
tractor trailer load of sterilized Canadian hemp seed on its way to a
large U.S. company that has been selling hemp birdseed blends
for years. 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 under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act
since 1937 and many have been sold in the U.S. For years.
The DEA, after repeated requests, refuses to provide any legal basis for
the confiscation or recall. Kenex’s 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 bedding.”
U.S. Customs is threatening $500,000 in fines against Kenex if their
recall of 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 days extension request to
clarify the situation was denied by U.S. Customs.
U.S. Customs is now also issuing subpoenas to Kenex’s customers in the
U.S. to obtain all correspondence documents and any other records related
to all hemp product purchases from Kenex including fiber use to
manufacture car parts.
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.