Until a few weeks ago, everyone in the hemp world thought the next big development would come from the federal Food and Drug Administration (after all, the FDA recently submitted proposed guidance to the White House, which has yet to be released). Unfortunately, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) dropped a surprise interim hemp rule a few weeks ago, which took immediate effect and came as a shock to virtually everyone. Ever since, lawyers have been vigorously debating the scope, meaning, and legality of the rule. If you’d like to read our analysis of the rule, please read our following posts:
I won’t get back into a detailed analysis of the interim rule, because our prior posts do just that. But for the purposes of this post, I want to discuss why the interim rule (a regulation) is at odds with the text of the 2018 Farm Bill (an actual law), and why that’s important.
To start, the 2018 Farm Bill categorically removed hemp from the definition of “marijuana” in the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and modified the definition of tetrahydrocannabinols to exclude tetrahydrocannabinols in hemp. Critically, “hemp” is defined as follows:
The term “hemp” means the plant