On Feb. 15, lawyers presented oral arguments in the case, Hemp Industries Association v. DEA, which could have national repercussions regarding the legality of hemp-derived extracts. The nation’s leading hemp industry nonprofit went to court with the Drug Enforcement Administration today, challenging a December 2016 move by the federal government that essentially served to put industrial hemp extracts under the same scrutiny as marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act.
“This is a most significant day for the industrial hemp industry,” Robert Hoban, one of the attorneys representing the Hemp Industries Association, told Cannabis Now. While the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals did not issue a ruling today, they did hear the oral arguments presented by the Hemp Industries Association — and Hoban said he was hopeful that the court heard their appeal.
The Hemp Industries Assocation’s fight against the DEA started back in 2016, when the DEA created a new drug code number — which is what the DEA uses to track everything covered by The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 — for “marihuana extract.” According to the DEA, a marihuana extract now meant “extract containing one or more cannabinoids that has been derived from any plant of the genus Cannabis,” including hemp-derived CBD oil.
The folks over at the Hemp Industries Association went to court not long after the DEA released what it calls “the final rule” on cannabis extracts. The HIA argued that the final rule is essentially a scheduling action for substances such as industrial hemp, “and that the final rule contradicts specific Congressional legislation which exempts or legalizes certain parts and varieties of the cannabis plant, such as “industrial hemp.”
The HIA is referring to the Farm Act of 2014, which made it federally legal for states to set up pilot hemp programs.