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DEA Violating Court Orders by Regulating Hemp

The Hemp Industry Association has filed a lawsuit against the DEA seeking to hold the agency in contempt of court for failing to adhere to a previous Court of Appeals decision that prevents the law enforcement agency from regulating hemp-derived food products as Schedule I substances, according to a press release from the HIA.

“Thirteen years ago DEA was told in no uncertain terms by the U.S. Court of Appeals that Congress had made its intent clear: DEA has no power to regulate hemp seed and oil, and the hemp food and beverage products made from them,” Joe Sandler, lead council for the industry association, said in a statement. “It is disappointing that the industry has to revisit the issue, and take this step to compel DEA to obey the law.”

In 2004, the Ninth District Court of Appeals ruled against the DEA, concluding that they had not only violated the Administrative Procedure Act by issuing the hemp rule without notice and comment, but they had also violated the Controlled Substances Act by designating hemp as “marijuana.”

“The Court further found that the ‘non-psychoactive hemp in Appellants’ products was derived from the ‘mature’ stalks or is ‘oil and cake made from the seeds’ of the Cannabis plant, and therefore fits within the plainly stated exception to the CSA definition of marijuana,” the plaintiffs’ motion says. “The Court determined that ‘the DEA’s action is not a mere clarification of its THC regulations; it improperly renders naturally-occurring non-psychoactive hemp illegal for the first time.’”

According to court documents, the HIA argues that the DEA has no intention of cooperating with the court’s decision and “has simply refused to accept the Court’s ruling over a decade ago as governing law.”

The HIA filed a separate lawsuit on January 13, 2017 against the DEA after they announced the creation of a new code number for cannabis extracts, which some have interpreted to include hemp oils.

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