DEA lashes out in hemp lawsuit, says hemp activists are trying to ‘hijack’ agency priorities

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is pushing back hard against a hemp association’s attempt to find out if the agency considers temporary byproducts of hemp production a Schedule 1 substance.

The DEA told a federal judge this week that the agency “is not required to explain how the (rule) applies to every hypothetical circumstance.”

The DEA called the request from the Hemp Industries Association and a South Carolina CBD maker, RE Botanicals, “inappropriate.”

Further, the DEA chastised the hemp activists for asking for a speedy resolution.

“It is never appropriate for a private party … to hijack an agency’s policymaking process to receive expedited consideration of their own concerns,” the DEA said.

The hemp plaintiffs are trying to modify a DEA rule issued last summer. The DEA says it was simply updating its policies to comply with the 2018 Farm Bill, which removed low-THC cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act.

Hemp activists argue that the DEA is making an illegal power grab by saying that hemp extracts are Schedule 1 controlled substances during a portion of the extraction process when the plant’s THC levels spike above what’s allowed.

The DEA also told the district court judge that the hemp case belongs instead in an appeals court.