June 10, 2004
Hemp Group Wants Air Force OK For Lotion
The Associated Press
CANNON AIR FORCE BASE A trade organization is asking the Air Force to clarify that its ban on marijuana use doesn't apply to personal care products that contain hemp seed oil.
The California-based Hemp Industries Association and the Indoor Tanning Association have sent Air Force Secretary James Roche a letter this week criticizing a recent article in the Cannon Air Force Base newspaper Mach Meter.
The article warned airmen not to use products containing hemp seed oil, hemp oil or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol known as THC marijuana's main active chemical.
The article said using such products created the "statistically small" chance of flunking a drug test and could attract attention from the base's drug-sniffing dogs.
"While the lotion was not used with intent to break any laws and is not illegal, the fact that a military working dog alerts on your car or your person creates a perception that nobody wants," said the article written by Capt. Gwendolyn Beitz.
People in the military are prohibited from using marijuana and the services test for THC levels. Hemp is a plant that is used for a variety of products, from fiber for making clothes to tanning lotion.
The Cannon story said while base officials don't believe anyone would ingest a lotion, the lotion could be applied over a cut or scrape, creating a chance of absorption under certain circumstances.
A spokesman for the Hemp Industries Association disputes that such use could lead to a positive drug test.
"There's no way a personal care product will cause someone to fail a drug test," association spokesman Adam Eidinger said Thursday during a telephone interview.
Eidinger said the association that represents about 200 companies decided to write Roche because it complained to Cannon officials about the article and failed to get a response.
"We want the Air Force to clarify this policy," Eidinger said. "At the very least, they should clarify that their ban on hemp foods does not apply to personal care products . . . which contain varying amounts of hemp oil."
Air Force officials did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Eidinger said the Cannon story had received widespread circulation and had misled military personnel and the public into thinking they shouldn't use hemp products because it might trigger a positive test for marijuana.
Candi Penn, HIA's executive director, told Roche in the letter "the Air Force's concerns are not based in scientific research." She said it was ridiculous to think drug-sniffing dogs would target a person wearing hemp sun block.
Penn also said there is no example of any person failing a drug test after using hemp personal care products.
"We understand the Air Force needs to conduct drug tests, but these tests do not need to come at the expense (of) our industries," Penn told Roche.