Hemp Industries Association Sues DEA Over Illegal Attempt to Regulate Hemp Foods as Schedule I Drugs

Agency Ignores Prior Court Ruling and Clear Congressional Intent in the 2014 Farm Bill; Leading Hemp Trade Group Takes Action to Protect American Hemp Farmers, Businesses from Unlawful DEA Registration Requirements

WASHINGTON, Feb. 6, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Hemp Industries Association (HIA), the leading non-profit trade association consisting of hundreds of hemp businesses, has filed a motion to hold the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in contempt of court for violating an unchallenged, long-standing order issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco, prohibiting the agency from regulating hemp food products as Schedule I controlled substances. Specifically, the HIA asserts that the DEA continues to operate with blatant disregard for the 2004 ruling made by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which permanently enjoined the DEA from regulating hemp fiber, stalk, sterilized seed and oil, which are specifically exempted from the definition of ‘marijuana’ in the federal Controlled Substances Act.

To read the motion, please visit: https://thehia.org/resources/Documents/Legal/HIA-v-DEA-9th-Circuit-Motion.pdf.

“We will not stand idly by while the DEA flouts the will of Congress, violates the Ninth Circuit order, and harasses honest hemp producers trying to make a living with this in-demand crop,” said Colleen Keahey, Executive Director of the Hemp Industries Association. “Hemp is a healthy superfood with vital nutrients such as Omegas 3 and 6, protein, fiber and all 10 essential amino acids that are ideal for today’s family.  The DEA must stop treating hemp, hempseed and hempseed oil, which is a nutritious ingredient, as something illicit. We have to address the challenges that thwart the domestic industry’s progress and especially those that mislead state Departments of Agriculture and limit entry of legal hemp products into the marketplace.”

Historically, the DEA has made persistent efforts to regulate hemp products. In 2001, DEA issued an Interpretive Rule attempting to ban all hemp seed and hempseed oil food products that contained even minuscule, insignificant amounts of residual THC. The HIA immediately filed suit to stop the enforcement of this rule, which resulted in what became known as the “Hemp Food Rules Challenge.”  Ultimately, the subsequent ruling made by the Ninth Circuit issued serendipitously on February 6, 2004, found that the DEA had not followed necessary scheduling procedures to add non-psychoactive hemp to the list of Schedule I controlled substances; and additionally, that Congress clearly did not intend that hemp be prohibited by the Controlled Substance Act when it adopted language from the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act to define the drug ‘marijuana.’ To read the full 2004 court opinion, please visit: http://www.votehemp.com/PDF/HIAvDEA_9th_final_decision.pdf.

This article originally appeared at MarijuanaIndex.com

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