6 April 2017

A federal lawsuit involving hemp is heating up reports the Cannabist

Lawyers representing the Hemp Industries Association and hemp businesses have filed an opening brief in a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals case against the Drug Enforcement Administration, fleshing out claims that a new drug code for marijuana extract violates multiple laws and stands to chill a multibillion-dollar business.

The DEA in December adopted a rule that applies a Controlled Substances Code Number for “marihuana extract,” products containing one or more cannabinoids — chemical compounds found within the plant species Cannabis sativa L. Agency officials previously said the coding was the result of proposed rulemaking put into motion in 2011, is primarily administrative in nature, helps to enable research, and complies with international treaties.


Hoban’s petition seeks a judicial review of the final rule on the basis that the action was inconsistent with the law — including the U.S. Controlled Substances Act and the Agricultural Act of 2014, or the Farm Bill — and effectively amounts to a scheduling action.

A scheduling action, Hoban said, would need congressional approval.

According to the lawsuit:

“Additionally, the final rule creates this new drug code, indicative of being a controlled substance, for substances which are in fact not controlled pursuant to the (Controlled Substances Act),” Hoban attorneys wrote in the lawsuit. “Specifically, the final rule dictates that the mere presence of ‘cannabinoids,’ which are not controlled substances, is the determinative factor of whether a compound is a ‘marihuana extract.’

“Further, the final rule overbroadly defines ‘marihuana extract,’ without reflecting that certain portions and varieties of the genus Cannabis sativa L. are congressionally exempted from the CSA and/or are exempted from being treated as controlled substances altogether pursuant to the relevant laws, as enacted by Congress.”

Read the Cannabist full report