POLICE HAVE seized beauty products containing hemp seed oil from a Body Shop store in France, claiming that the products encourage illegal drug use.
The founder of the Body Shop Anita Roddick said yesterday that she was ``amazed" by the action of police in Aix-en-Provence who took products including lip conditioner, hand oil and elbow grease in the Hemp range as well as promotional material.
The products contain industrial grade hemp seed oil which in turn contains very small amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) the "mind altering" compound in marijuana.
But according to Ms Roddick: "You'd have to smoke a hemp joint the size of a telephone pole to get the least buzz and you'd die from carbon monoxide first."
The chain has launched the Hemp range in the UK, the US and other markets over the past few months, it says with great success. In the UK it accounted for 5 per cent of total company sales in the month after it was launched and almost 7 per cent in the US. The range was launched in France on Monday and the French police mounted their raid on Wednesday.
However when the Body Shop launched the range in Britain in March the Tory MP Ann Widdecombe accused the retailer of "making a joke of drug- taking" and said Ms Roddick was "wholly irresponsible" in introducing the products because they are made from the Cannabis Sativa plant.
A spokesman for the Body Shop said the range did not promote drug use and its aim was quite the opposite. He claimed that by being the first retailer to bring hemp to the high street, the chain was trying to instigate an "educational process" distancing industrial grade hemp from marijuana.
"It is ridiculous that industrial grade hemp which is a wonderfully versatile crop, ecologically sound with an extensive history - the first drafts of the US Declaration of Independence of the USA were on hemp paper - and one of the best natural moisturisers in the world should be tarnished by its sister plant." he said.
"France is in the forefront of the hemp revolution, in fact the hemp seed oil in The Body Shop range comes from France." said Ms Roddick.
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