Lawsuit Challenges New Hemp Rules in Alaska

A lawsuit in Alaska is challenging the Department of Natural Resources’ recently approved regulations to limit intoxicating hemp products, claiming the rules are unconstitutional.

Full story after the jump.

A lawsuit in Alaska is challenging a recently approved Department of Natural Resources (DNR) regulation that limits intoxicating hemp products, claiming the rule is unconstitutional, the Alaska Beacon reports. The DNR rule took effect last week and prohibits the agency from approving industrial hemp products that contain delta-9 THC.

The lawsuit, brought by hemp growers and manufacturers, argues that the new regulations outlaw every hemp-derived product made in the state and will “have the effect of destroying” the state’s Industrial Hemp Pilot Program. It names the State of Alaska, the DNR and Commissioner John C. Boyle III, the Alaska Division of Agriculture (DoAg) and Director Bryan Scoresby, and Lieutenant Gov. Nacy Dahlstrom as defendants.

Further, the lawsuit contends the regulations provide “a clear protectionist affect (sic)” for the state’s cannabis businesses and the state’s cannabis tax regime. It also argues the regulation violates the U.S. Constitution’s commerce clause because hemp is federally legal.

“The amendments state that the DoAg may declare any cannabis product for human consumption as a ‘public nuisance injurious to the public interest,’ and grants the DoAg the right to destroy products once declare (sic) a public nuisance,” the lawsuit states. “Additionally, the DoAg will no longer endorse any industrial hemp product that contains Delta-9-THC, which [is] a significant portion of the final product and depending on when tested for THC, all hemp products. Thus, the processing and manufacturing of cannabis products contain no more than 0.3% Delta-9-THC will be left entirely to the marijuana industry, which has lesser testing requirements than hemp.”

Attorney Christopher Hoke, representing the plaintiffs, has requested a temporary restraining order to prevent the regulations from taking effect while the lawsuit proceeds.

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