DEA Marijuana Extracts Rule Challenge

A federal lawsuit involving hemp was heard on February 15, 2018. The Petitioners and DEA presented oral arguments to a 3 judge panel of the 9th Circuit federal court. Below is a video recording of the oral arguments.

Lawyers representing the Hemp Industries Association and hemp businesses have filed a lawsuit in a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals case against the Drug Enforcement Administration, making the claim that a new drug code for marijuana extract violates multiple laws and will likely have a serious negative impact on a multibillion-dollar business.

On December 14 of 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) published a new rule entitled Clarification of the New Drug Code (7350) for Marijuana Extract that created a new drug code for “marijuana extract.” The rule included a statement that DEA interpreted cannabidiol (CBD) as being a scheduled substance under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) despite the fact that DEA had never initiated a scheduling action to determine of CBD met the requirements for control.

DEA claimed the creation of this new drug code was primarily intended to give DEA more precise accounting to assist the agency in carrying out its obligations to provide certain reports required by U.S. treaty obligations. Because the Final Rule did not add any substance to the schedules that was not already controlled, and did not change the schedule of any substance, DEA claimed it was not a scheduling action under 21 U.S.C. §§ 811 and 812.

On January 11, 2018, twenty nine members of Congress filed an amicus brief with the 9th Circuit of Appeals that clarifies Congressional intent with regards to Section 7606 of the Farm Bill and arguing that the DEA has misinterpreted it. Special thanks to Michael Perry who helped draft and coordinated the amicus.