Hemp Industries Association and RE Botanicals, a South Carolina CBD producer, have filed a lawsuit against the U.S drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) seeking clarification over hemp’s temporary byproducts.
The association wants the DEA to specify its stance on the plant’s temporary byproducts that tend to display THC spikes beyond the prescribed 0.3% limit.
The suit was filed on Monday in a district court in Washington, DC. The Plaintiffs asked the presiding judge to order the agency to elaborate on its cryptic remarks in a ruling issued in August. The controversial ruling, the DEA’s Interim Final Rule, has a clause that criminalizes Intermediate Hemp Material (IHM) and Waste Hemp Material (WHM), which are understood as “two necessary, inevitable, and temporary byproducts of hemp production.”
The IRF rule has many hemp businesses and industry stakeholders concerned, with experts saying the clause is unreasonable and goes against the 2018 Farm Bill’s provisions.
The DEA, which is not tasked with any form of oversight over hemp cultivation and production, is said to have gone against the intent of the Farm Bill. Several Congress members have also sent letters to the agency confirming that the agency’s hemp extracts directives went contrary to Congress’s intent.
According to the lawsuit, the DEA’s answers will assist in determining the next course of action. If they are not satisfied, the Plaintiffs intend to pursue legal action to obstruct and nullify the rule.
Industry players are still trying to understand if the DEA’s actions are preliminary policy updates meant to comply with the Farm Bill. However, they worry that the agency is trying to illegally label hemp extracts as Schedule 1 controlled substances during a stage of the extraction process when THC levels temporarily rise above the authorized limit.
Hemp Industries Association and RE Botanicals asked for a prompt decision.