DEA extraction rule driving hemp processors out of business, Congressmen warn

Some hemp processors are closing rather than navigate rules issued by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration about elevated THC levels, two members of Congress told the agency in opposing the rules.

House Agriculture Chairman David Scott and Rep. Sanford Bishop, both Georgia Democrats, wrote to Attorney General Merrick Garland, who oversees the DEA.

“Hemp processors have been confused about the legality of their processing operations,” they wrote. “Because of this confusion, some processors have halted operations altogether.”

The lawmakers did not elaborate on the closed processors. They said that the DEA’s extraction rule counters congressional intent to authorize hemp processing, Natural Products Insider reported.

They also say the rule “will stifle innovation, advancement and product development in an industry poised for robust growth.”

The DEA published the rule in August to align its regulations with hemp legalization under the 2018 Farm Bill. The agency took comments on the rule through October but has yet to make the rule permanent.

The Hemp Industries Association and a South Carolina CBD manufacturer sued DEA over the rule in September. The dispute has not been resolved.