Hemp industry pushing DEA to address byproducts

The Hemp Industries Association and a South Carolina CBD maker are trying to get U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to clarify whether it considers temporary byproducts of hemp production a Schedule 1 substance.

In a filing Monday in U.S. District Court in Washington DC, HIA and RE Botanicals ask a judge to order the DEA to answer questions about the rule the agency issued in August, which has hemp businesses concerned it criminalizes “two necessary, inevitable, and temporary byproducts of hemp production …”

The filing says if the DEA’s answers to the questions will help determine whether a pending legal action to block and invalidate the rule is necessary or moot.

At issue is whether the DEA is simply updating its policies to comply with the 2018 Farm Bill, which removed low-THC cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, or whether 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 hemp plaintiffs ask for an expedited decision, though the coutr has no deadline to issue a ruling.