Congress Takes Issue with the (Awful) DEA Hemp Rule

The hemp industry is not the only one that’s pushing back against the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)’s hemp Interim Final Rule (the “Rule”). If you read this blog, you’ll recall the hemp industry sued the DEA following the release of its Rule in August 2020. The Rule threatens the hemp industry because it wrongfully criminalizes the extraction process of hemp into derivatives, extracts and cannabinoids, which is a critical component of all hemp-derived products.

Last week, nine members of Congress issued a letter to the DEA’s Acting Administrator, Timothy Shea, to express their concerns regarding the Rule.

In their letter, the lawmakers explained having received countless calls from hemp constituents who are extremely fearful that conducting lawful activities under the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (‘the “2018 Farm Bill”) will result in criminal liability under the Rule.

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp along with its derivatives, extracts and cannabinoids. In order to extract these lawful plant materials from hemp, the hemp plant must go through an extraction process. Accordingly, it logically follows that the 2018 Farm Bill also legalized the processing of hemp into such derivatives, extracts and cannabinoids.

Despite this logical inference, the lawmakers explained, the DEA

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