The Hemp Industry Association (HIA) recently joined RE Botanicals, a South Carolina hemp manufacturer, to sue the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). The lawsuit was sparked as a challenge to a new rule that hemp advocates would be detrimental to the industry.
The parties filed a petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. They are claiming that the DEA has outstepped its bounds and that it is trying to push legislation on the public that it does not have the authority to pass on the own. The HIA believes that the DEA violates the 2018 Farm bill.
“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,” Rick Trojan, HIA’s President, said. “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.”
Trojan maintains that the DEA is at risk of barring the hemp industry before it has a chance to take off. He believes that while this is not their explicit intention, hemp companies will suffer from the agency’s rules.
Advocates are also outraged that the DEA did not follow proper protocols to add new rules like notifying the public and allowing them the opportunity to comment before enacting them.
The HIA is a trade association comprised of 1,050 hemp businesses. The group included over 300 processors who would be impacted by these new rules. RE Botanicals is one of those companies, and the board worries that the DEA could unwittingly put them out of business overnight.