The hemp trade is just not the one one which’s pushing again in opposition to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)’s hemp Interim Final Rule (the “Rule”). If you learn this weblog, you’ll recall the hemp trade sued the DEA following the discharge of its Rule in August 2020. The Rule threatens the hemp trade as a result of it wrongfully criminalizes the extraction means of hemp into derivatives, extracts and cannabinoids, which is a essential element of all hemp-derived merchandise.

Last week, 9 members of Congress issued a letter to the DEA’s Acting Administrator, Timothy Shea, to precise their considerations relating to the Rule.

In their letter, the lawmakers defined having obtained numerous calls from hemp constituents who’re extraordinarily fearful that conducting lawful actions beneath the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (‘the “2018 Farm Bill”) will result in criminal liability under the Rule.

RELATED: The Hemp Industry Responds To The DEA Rule With A Lawsuit

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp along with its derivatives, extracts and cannabinoids. In order to extract these lawful plant materials from hemp, the hemp plant must go through an extraction process. Accordingly, it logically follows that the 2018 Farm Bill also legalized the processing of hemp into such derivatives, extracts and cannabinoids.

Photo by Tinnakorn Jorruang/Getty Images

Despite this logical inference, the lawmakers explained, the DEA failed to recognize this nuance, along with the clear legislative intent of the 2018 Farm Bill, when it drafted the Rule that states:

“any such material that contains greater than 0.3% of Δ9-THC on a dry weight basis remains controlled in schedule I.”

Moreover, the nine lawmakers argue that the Rule fails to acknowledge the well-known fact that the process by which hemp is extracted into derivatives, extracts and cannabinoids can, and almost always, results in increased delta-9 THC levels, even if the finished hemp product meets the lawful THC threshold imposed under federal law. This, the letter provides, means that, pursuant to the Rule, extracting hemp may cause hemp processors to temporarily possess a controlled substance, which would clearly violate the legislative intent of the 2018 Farm Bill.

RELATED: Hemp Litigation: DEA Sued Again

In light of these issues, the lawmakers asked that the Rule be revised to (1) be consistent with the letter and intent of the 2018 Farm Bill, (2) eliminate all ambiguities regarding the legality of intermediary hemp, but also (3) protect a nascent, flourishing economy. Indeed, the letter explains that:

“[t]he hemp industry in the United States is estimated to be worth approximately $10.3 billion by 2024, increasing from $1.2 billion in 2019. This industry is capable of incredible growth and is a source of immense livelihood for Americans, all of which is at risk under the [Rule]’s interpretation.”

The letter was submitted on October 20, which marked the final day public feedback in regards to the Rule could possibly be accepted. It now stays to be seen whether or not the DEA will take into accounts these suggestions because it proceeds with the formal adoption of the Rule. However, given the latest lawsuit introduced forth in opposition to the DEA and its Rule, the company could not get to proceed with the rule making course of. Indeed, if the United States District Court for the District of Columbia have been to grant the hemp trade an injunctive reduction, the DEA can be prevented from imposing and revising the Rule till the courtroom hears the case, which is probably not for one more 12 months.

 is an legal professional at Harris Bricken. This article was originally published on the Canna Law Blog and is reposted with permission.

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