The Drug Enforcement Agency’s decision on classifying hemp was upheld by 9th Circuit in their ruling on HIA v. DEA. The Hemp Industry Association (HIA) lost an attempt last year to make the DEA reclassify products containing cannabiniol (or CBD – a compound found in cannabis) from banned to legal status. The appeal of that verdict was heard before the Circuit Court, whose decision was announced last week. The appeal was not successful, and CBD will continue to be classified as an illegal drug since it is extracted from the flower of the marijuana plant. Although CBD can also be extracted from the flower of a hemp plant, there is no distinction allowed in the decision.
On a separate note, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) filed the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 (S.2667), which was placed on the Senate Calendar on April 16, 2018. The act would allow for state or tribal control of the growing of hemp within their borders, and most importantly, removes hemp from the definition of “marihuana” in the Controlled Substances Act.
The hemp battles continue in the courts and in Congress. CSG-ERC’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee will be exploring this issue at our upcoming Annual Meeting and Policy Forum in Rye Brook, New York, August 5-8.