The Hemp Industry Fights Back: HIA Hits DEA with Lawsuit

Politics News - RE Botanicals and HIA Lawsuit Against DEA

A couple of weeks ago, RE Botanicals and the Hemp Industries Association filed a petition against the DEA regarding the recently published final interim Rule.

In their lawsuit, RE Botanicals and HIA state that the DEA is trying to regulate products derived from legal hemp. They do so by circumnavigating legal loopholes in the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 and classifying intermediate hemp material (IHM) and waste hemp material (WHM) as Schedule I controlled substances, despite both IHM and WHM being inherent byproducts of hemp processing.

Furthermore, the hemp industry also touches on the “dry weight basis” matter. Namely, the lawsuit explains that both IHM and WHM cannot be measured due to their wet nature. And therefore, cannot violate the rule.

Additionally, the lawsuit claims that the DEA’s understanding and definition of hemp is different than that of the 2018 Farm Bill.

The lawsuit requests that:

  • DEA declares that the THC in IHM and WHM isn’t a Schedule I controlled substance.
  • DEA declares that they lack an independent authority to regulate certain aspects of hemp production, including IHM and WHM.

If the court finds the DEA’s Rule problematic, they will block the DEA from either enforcing or revising it until a trial takes place. Since a trial may not happen for over a year, the hemp industry would continue its activities without any actions on the DEA’s part.

The outcome of this lawsuit is essential to the hemp industry and products like CBD oil, gummies, flowers, creams, and many others. So far, producers who have handled IHM and WHM had to choose between:

  • Stopping their manufacturing processes and storing hemp
  • Getting a Schedule I license from the DEA
  • Risking prosecution for handling Schedule I substances

It remains to be seen whether the hemp industry will succeed in protecting their legal activities and stopping the DEA from tightening their grip on the hemp industry.