The hemp industry is not happy with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s interim final rule implementing the 2018 farm bill’s hemp provisions. “The IFR “improperly purports to criminalize hemp extracts in direct contravention of the 2018 Farm Bill, threatening lawful American businesses,” The Hemp Industries Association said in formal comments to DEA  “Since the ruling in 2004, and formalized with the passage of the 2014 and 2018 farm bills, it has been clear that the Controlled Substance Act cannot be applied to, and has no bearing on, hemp or products derived from hemp. Hemp and hemp products are and have been lawful agricultural goods, and any attempt by the DEA to extend its rulemaking authority to regulate them is an illegal overreach that infringes on the authority of the legislative branch.” HIA and RE Botanicals have filed a petition for review in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and followed that with a lawsuit in federal court in Washington, seeking to stop DEA from classifying intermediate and waste hemp material as Schedule I substances under the Controlled Substances Act.

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The U.S. Hemp Roundtable says, “In effect, the IFR could criminalize the initial stages of hemp extract processing, which is wholly inconsistent with the intent of the 2018 Farm Bill hemp provisions.”

The National Industrial Hemp Council is encouraging DEA to take an approach similar to USDA’s, whose own interim final rule includes a “safe harbor” provision specifying that “hemp producers do not commit a negligent violation if they use reasonable efforts to grow hemp and the plant does not have a THC concentration of more than 0.5% on a dry weight basis.” Yesterday was the deadline for filing comments on the IFR.  

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