Hoban Law Group filed a petition on behalf of RE Botanicals Inc. and the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to review an interim final rule on hemp production.
“Implementation of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018,” which was promulgated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) last month, stipulates all hemp derivatives and extracts exceeding 0.3% THC content will continue to be classified as Schedule I controlled substances.
The complaint, filed on Sept. 18, claims this interim final rule is unlawful, as it exceeds the DEA’s legal authority.
The plaintiffs also argue the move violates the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (the Farm Bill), which Congress enacted seeking to establish a federal industrial hemp industry. Acting DEA administrator Timothy Shea ignored several procedures required by law when issuing the interim final rule, the petitioners alleged.
Hoban and Asheville, N.C.-based Knight Law Office are advising RE Botanicals and HIA, along with Vicente Sederberg LLP and Yetter Coleman LLP.
“We are a small, woman-operated company,” said RE Botanicals CEO Janel Ralph. “The DEA's new rule could put us out of business overnight."
Adding to these comments, HIA President Rick Trojan said, "When Congress passed the 2018 farm bill, it explicitly carved hemp and its derivatives out of the Controlled Substances Act so that hemp can be regulated as an agricultural commodity. The DEA’s interim final rule could create substantial barriers to the legal manufacturing of hemp-derived products, a critical component of the hemp supply chain, and devastate the entire hemp industry. Although the DEA states that is not its intention, the rule must be amended to ensure hemp remains an agricultural crop, as Congress intended."
According to Vicente Sederberg partner Shawn Hauser, the DEA implemented this rule "without following proper rule-making procedures, such as providing the public with notice and the opportunity to comment."
The petitioners believe legal action is necessary to protect the lawful U.S. hemp industry that Congress intended to establish when it enacted the 2018 farm bill, he added.
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