The Hemp Industries Association and a handful of cannabis entrepreneurs are taking the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to court Thursday in a high-stakes case over the agency’s 2016 pronouncement that CBD is an illegal drug – the same as marijuana.
The case won’t be decided for months, but the outcome is important for the entire cannabis industry, not just entrepreneurs making or selling hemp-derived cannabidiol products.
Marijuana Business Daily spoke with entrepreneurs and attorneys to find out what they’ll be watching for as the two sides square off in the 9th District Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
Below are the Top 5 Things to Consider for the cannabis industry.
1. Pay attention to the questions
Three judges will grill both sides: the hemp businesses and the DEA, which is represented by a lawyer from its parent, the U.S. Department of Justice.
Both sides get just 15 minutes to make their cases, but the judges will no doubt interrupt with questions that can reveal a lot about their legal thinking.
The judges have already read all the arguments and reviewed case law on the topic, so oral arguments are often just a listening session for judges wondering how to phrase their rulings.
It’s not unusual for the prevailing side to get the toughest grilling from the bench; many appeals attorneys consider it a bad sign when the appeals judges don’t ask tough follow-ups.
2. See where Congress fits in
The judiciary interprets law set by Congress, so when judges try to resolve a dispute over a law, they’ll gladly take direction from the folks who originally wrote the law.
In this case, more than