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Canadian company sues U.S. gov. over banning of Hemp products.

Discussion in 'TRIBE Main Forum' started by Subsonic Chronic, Jan 15, 2002.

  1. Subsonic Chronic

    Subsonic Chronic TRIBE Member

    Well... if NAFTA was good for anything, this has gotta be it. Hopefully the DEA will realise what a bunch of tards they are and reverse the ban. It's so beyond any sort of rational logic.


    From the Toronto Star:

    Ontario hemp producer files NAFTA challenge
    U.S. crackdown on hemp products costs firm millions, president complains
    From Canadian Press

    A small Ontario company is using the North American Free Trade Agreement to challenge a U.S. crackdown on products made from industrial hemp, a close relative of the plant that produces marijuana.
    Canada has allowed commercial farming of hemp since 1998. But the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has ordered any food containing the substance off store shelves by Feb. 6.

    That has caused Kenex Ltd., a privately held industrial hemp producer near the southwestern Ontario city of Chatham, to notify the U.S. government on Monday that it's seeking at least $20 million as compensation for lost business.

    Kenex argues its products - mainly birdseed and edible oils used in a variety of foods such as tortilla chips, granola bars and ice cream - are free of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the illegal hallucinogen in marijuana.

    Under NAFTA procedure, the company's lawyers will try to negotiate with U.S. officials. If negotiations fail, the company can ask for an independent tribunal to award it compensation for lost business.

    "The point of this whole exercise is that we've lost a significant amount of money related to the U.S. government's actions in this industry," said Kenex president Jean Laprise.

    "It's cost us millions of dollars and we're looking for some compensation with regard to those losses."

    For instance, Kenex lost its largest customer a couple years ago when U.S. officials seized a 22-tonne truckload of birdseed at the border, Laprise said.

    "We haven't dealt with that customer since. That was the end of it. People don't take too kindly to butting heads with the U.S. government, so they just choose to stay away," Laprise said.

    Kenex argues the U.S. crackdown is arbitrary and creates an unfair barrier for hemp, compared with directly competitive products such as flax, walnut, sesame and poppy seeds.

    "Poppy seeds, in particular, are in a very similar position to hemp seeds, insofar as poppy seeds contain trace amounts of opiates that are controlled by the Controlled Substances Act in the U.S. but are specifically exempted from control along with their trace opiates," says the company's notice of intent, filed with the State Department.

    Todd Weiler, one of the lawyers working for Kenex, said the main thrust of the claim rests on NAFTA Article 1105, guaranteeing fair and equitable treatment, and Article 1102, which guarantees that U.S. law must treat Canadian, Mexican and American competitors equally.

    In this case, Kenex argues Canadian hemp growers aren't treated as well as U.S. poppy seed producers, Weiler said.

    The Hemp Industry Association, representing U.S. industrial hemp producers, recently filed a lawsuit making similar allegations against the Drug Enforcement Administration in a San Francisco court.
  2. Fir3start3r

    Fir3start3r TRIBE Member

    I looked into investing into this company a few years back (about a year after the gov allowed hemp to be grown) but they didn't have any public shares at that time. [​IMG]
    Isn't it just like the States to ban something they don't understand....
    I say....BOOOOOOOO.....
    I love hemp products; damn them reffer madness yokels down there!
  3. Rosey

    Rosey TRIBE Member

    drug laws are moronic.
    and american still don't understand them.
  4. Evil Dynovac

    Evil Dynovac TRIBE Member

    I have a Hemp Vinagrette for salads and such at home. I must say it pales when compared with a homemade mixture of Tuscan olive oil, crushed garlic, balsamic, and a spoonful of dijon mustard...

    It just goes to show you that weed can't replace everything in your life.
  5. Subsonic Chronic

    Subsonic Chronic TRIBE Member

    Apparently hemp seed oil is the only oil to contain all of the essential amino acids... either that or it contains more than other cooking oils. I wish I could remember... too much hemp oil...

  6. OTIS

    OTIS TRIBE Member

    as stated in the "things that suck"


    Canada being constantly strong-armed by the U.S.

  7. matty

    matty TRIBE Member

    In other news, the US today invaded Canada in an effort to eliminate once and for all the evil scourge of hemp birdseed. Sources at the Pentagon are reporting that Marc Emery is really Osama Bin Laden without a beard.

    "We will make no distinction between deadheads and the countries that harbor them," Bush said from the whitehouse lawn.
  8. mingster

    mingster TRIBE Member

    The Americans take everything too far. Is this supposed to be another step in the "war against drugs". It's so unreasonable. I'm not gonna get into all the useful benefits of hemp, as I'm sure y'all are familiar...but I think this is ridiculous. It's like they are working backwards.

    Hemp is not pot! Do they not know that?

  9. Ditto Much

    Ditto Much TRIBE Member

    See at first it seems like the concept of sueing a foreign government seems wrong. But you have to treat banned hemp the same way as a banned pesticide. If a company feels that a government law is preventing them access to a market then the market has to prove its law is right. The US is now forced to at minimum accept a challange against a law that some will argue is silly.

    The trouble with laws like this is that on the outside they look like they're designed only for very big companies. But they're used regularly by organic farmers and by niche market business's as well. When groups like the G8 and WTO get togther and make up rules like these they're doing it with both sides in mind. The argument being that if nothing else your going to have a stronger set of laws in the end.
  10. matty

    matty TRIBE Member

    So you're saying that it's right for a company (with the goal of making a profit) to be able to sue a foreign government (with the goal of representing the well being of it's citizens) because the company believes that the law is hurting their potential to make a profit?

    Should a Canadian company, small or large, that makes a pharmaceutical Peru has deemed to be unsafe, be able to sue and either make Peru pay some astronomical amount for the right to ban the product within their borders, or potentially force Peru to repeal their laws to suit the profit driven goals or a company that is 1000's of miles away?
  11. Ditto Much

    Ditto Much TRIBE Member

    Yes and no.

    Yes they can take them to court, no chances are they won't change the law.

    If a law is set and it prevents the import of a product the law can be challenged. If the law stands then there was no potential for loss and the court case basically stops. If the law is proven to be only there to act as a trade barrier then one of two things can happen. The law can be changed and thus the trade barrier. Or a negotiated settlement (ie we won't change the law but we'll pay you off instead) can be arranged.

    If a law is changed and thus a trade barrier created ( if the US for instance reduced the amount of alcohol allowed in beer to %3 thus kicking out all Canadian brewers from there markets) that law can be challenged. If the challenge is successful than the negotiations start with regards to how much money was lost because the laws changed.

    20 years ago it was impossible to sue another government over something like this. If for instance the US wanted all Canadian lumber out of there country they would pass an arbitrary law banning the specific tree we harvest. There would be literally fuck all we could do and we intern would create an equally dumb law to punish them. This mechanism is designed to prevent escalations of stupidity.

    Now if a US company wanted to argue that Canadian acceptable PCB levels in oil was too low thus a trade barrier. They can do this and they can take the government to court. Chances are however that the government would argue there case based on public health records and win. Thus no penalties would be paid and the law would stand. This system is designed to allow companies some protection from there foreign markets.
  12. matty

    matty TRIBE Member

    What about the neuro-toxin MMT in gas that Canada banned for health reasons. Ethyl corp. in the US sued our government who had to pay 19.5 million in damages. A figure that exceeds the total 1998 Environment Canada budget for enforcement and compliance programmes.

    Looks like this system of checks and balances doesn't work so perfectly after all.
  13. Subsonic Chronic

    Subsonic Chronic TRIBE Member

    Amen to that.
    This is one of the few cases where, if this company wins, I will be happy about. A lot of the other challenges end up degrading the environment or human rights or you name it. The problem with a lot of these all-encompassing trade agreements is that the standards are always dropped to the lowest common denominator.

    Mexico was out millions of dollars when they upped their environmental standards and forced a factory to close due to new restrictions. Just like Canada got the shit end of the stick with the MMT deal.

    The other problem with a lot of the WTO (and NAF to an extent) rulings is that it is up to the "victim" country to effect the penalties. This makes it nearly impossible for smaller nations to impose effective tarrifs against super powers like the U.S. For example, if a small country like Peru wins a WTO ruling against the U.S., it is up to them to impose the tarrifs. These tarrifs would be so miniscule and inconsequential to the economy of the U.S., while if the situations were reversed, it could have a terrible impact on the entire economy of Peru.

  14. Ditto Much

    Ditto Much TRIBE Member

    Good try but unfortunately that's a perfect example of how the system does work.

    In 1997 Bill C-94 was passed. It however was passed as a standing law and not under the, "Canadian Environmental Protection Act". This law was actually being used to stop the import of a substance without banning its manufacture or use in Canada.

    Thus a double standard existed. Canadian Oil companies could freely produce fuels for export that were not legal for sale in the country they were produced in. This is clearly banning a competitors product without trying to limit your internal industries.

    Thus the Canadian government is forced to make a choice. Ban it outright and ban it in our export products, or allow it outright. Rightfully so Ethyl Corp argued that if the substance is banned than its loosing its revenue for the Canadian market or about 20 million. The Canadian Government had to admit the fact that we were still producing this chemical (and selling it to American companies) and thus preventing Ethyl Corp from competing in the market.

    Thus the law makes sense but its only a legitimate law if everyone is treated the same.

    It actually does make sense but only when you look at the fact that this was a recent change in law. And that the law was pretty suspicious in its implementation.
  15. graham

    graham Well-Known TRIBEr

    sure, it seems like nothing now, but that's how it starts. One day it's a hemp/polyester lining for a pickup-truck door, the next day it's a pair of shoes. And la-di-da, isn't hemp great! Until one day, when they make a joint so big it destroys the earth !
  16. Ditto Much

    Ditto Much TRIBE Member

    Health Canada has refused to declare MMT as toxic. thus it doesn't fall under our environmental laws (has to be toxic to ban).

    If the Canadian government want's to protect us from a toxic substance they can. But they have to do it in a legal way not by sneaking one past.

    You can't just change the rules without the other side questioning it. You also can't set arbitray laws without the other side having the right to challange you. If Canada were to ban the importation of tobacco but still allow it to be sold and produced here we'd be breaking the rules. Rightfully so the US tobacco giants should be able to sue. Much as I dislike these companies a fair playfield is a fair playfield.

    Laws have to represent everyone not just special cases or the laws have no meanings.
  17. PosTMOd

    PosTMOd Well-Known TRIBEr

    Actually, it's essential fatty acids, the "good fats", that are in hemp seed oil...

    linoleic, linolenic... omega-3's that reduce the risk of heart attacks, and can reduce inflammation... especially since there is also omega-6 (gamma-linolenic) in hemp oil...

    Whole hemp seeds contain essential amino acids... and they are tasty...

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