Hemp Industries Association Files Petition Against DEA

Hemp Industries Association Files Petition Against DEA to Defend Lawful Hemp-Derived Products from Agency Overreach
19 Jan 2017 5:41 PM

Suit Seeks to Defend Hemp Farmers, U.S. Businesses and Consumers from Illegal Attempt to Schedule Non-Psychoactive Hemp Derivatives as ‘Marihuana Extract’
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Hemp Industries Association (HIA), the leading non-profit trade association consisting of hundreds of hemp businesses, filed a Petition for Review on January 13, 2017, in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, seeking to block the implementation of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) recently announced Final Rule regarding “Marihuana Extract.” The proposed DEA Final Rule attempts to unlawfully designate hemp-derived non-psychoactive cannabinoids, including cannabidiol, as “marihuana extract,” and append the Controlled Substances Act to add all cannabinoids to its Schedule I. Furthermore, this action by the DEA contravenes clear Congressional intent and legal parameters for the production and consumption of hemp-derived products containing cannabinoids, enacted by Sec. 7606 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Bill).

To read the full petition, please visit:

https://hoban.law/sites/default/files/2017-01/17.01.13%20Petition%20%5Bfinal%5D.pdf

The DEA does not have the authority to augment the Controlled Substances Act; that power resides with Congress. Congress has clearly mandated, through the 2014 Farm Bill and the 2016 Omnibus Spending Law that the Controlled Substances Act does not apply to hemp grown in state pilot programs, and that it is a violation of federal law for agencies such as DEA to interfere with these programs. The DEA’s proposed rule regarding cannabinoids thumbs its nose at Congress and threatens to undermine the market for legal hemp products containing cannabinoids, including those produced in the U.S. under state laws that regulate hemp cultivation and processing pursuant to, and in accordance with the federal Farm Bill. These products, such as hemp foods and supplements, fall outside the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and are not subject to regulatory control by the DEA.

“Hemp-derived products containing cannabinoids are an increasingly in-demand category within the hemp market—and U.S. consumers constitute the largest market for hemp products worldwide,” said Colleen Keahey, Executive Director of the Hemp Industries Association. “We are committed to defending the rights of our members, of entrepreneurial hemp farmers, businesses and consumers, who all are acting entirely within the legal framework of the CSA and Farm Bill, including those adversely affected by trying to source American-grown hemp and hemp derivatives to supply this demand. The DEA’s attempt to regulate hemp derived products containing cannabinoids lawfully sourced under the CSA, and farmed and produced under the Farm Bill in states like Kentucky and Colorado, is not only outside the scope of their power, it’s an attempt to rob us of hemp’s economic opportunity.”
The DEA has made previous attempts to interfere with legal hemp products, notably from 2001-2003 when the agency contended that hemp food products such as cereals, hemp seed and hemp oil, are a Schedule I substance due to trace insignificant residues of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. On February 6, 2004, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in response that hemp is not included in Schedule I; that the trace THC in such products is similar to trace opiates in poppy seed bagels, and does not render them controlled substances. The HIA believes this 2004 ruling sets strong legal precedent for the current petition, which asserts that cannabinoids derived from lawful portions and varieties of the Cannabis plant exempted from control under the CSA and through the Farm Bill, may not be regulated as “marihuana” or “marihuana extract” by the DEA.

More recently, in 2014, the DEA interfered with the implementation of state pilot programs for hemp farming, when the agency unlawfully seized 250 lbs. of certified industrial hemp seed imported from Italy. The viable hemp seed had been legally sourced to supply six hemp research projects licensed by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and coordinated in conjunction with Kentucky State academic institutions. The seed was quickly released, following the filing of a lawsuit against the DEA on May 14, 2014 by then Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner, now U.S. Congressional Representative James Comer.
“Over a decade ago, the Ninth Circuit held that non-psychoactive hemp is not controlled by the CSA,” said Patrick Goggin, co-counsel for the HIA. “The DEA is again attempting to schedule under the CSA cannabinoids and non-psychoactive hemp beyond its authority. We believe the Ninth Circuit will invalidate this rule just like it did in 2004.”
To date, 31 states have passed hemp legislation that allows their farmers to cultivate hemp according to guidelines set forth in the Farm Bill. Per these guidelines, U.S. farmers planted nearly 10,000 acres of hemp in 2016. Farmers and agri-business across the country have invested many millions of dollars in infrastructure to comply with federal law; this retroactive misreading of statute puts the livelihood of these law-abiding companies and individuals at risk.
Recent DEA pronouncements indicate that DEA is threatening to flout prior court rulings, and assert regulatory authority over hemp seed, oil, and products made from hemp seed and oil, which have always been exempt from the Controlled Substances Act. HIA continues to monitor these developments, and will consider further actions to resist DEA’s unlawful attempts to regulate legal hemp products.
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The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) represents the interests of the hemp industry and encourages the research and development of new hemp products. More information about hemp’s many uses and hemp advocacy may be found at www.TheHIA.org.

Eric Steenstra is stepping-down as executive director of the Hemp Industries Association

A message from the Board of Directors 

Eric Steenstra is stepping-down as executive director of the Hemp Industries Association (HIA). Going forward, he has decided to work full time lobbying Congress and states on behalf of industrial hemp legislation via his role as President of Vote Hemp.  Eric is a respected figure of the hemp industry with twenty-four years of service, and HIA and Vote Hemp will continue to work closely together for full re-commercialization of hemp under federal law.

Since cofounding his hemp clothing business Ecolution in 1993, Eric’s commitment to the hemp movement has been remarkable.  He became a founding member of the HIA in 1994, and fought alongside David Bronner and fellow hempsters to stop the DEA’s attempted ban of hemp food and oil from 2001-2004.  Eric served on the HIA board for a decade, from 1997-2007.  In 2008, he stepped into the role of HIA Executive Director, following the retirement of former executive director Candi Penn.  

During his nine years of executive leadership, the HIA has grown substantially both in membership and annual event attendance.  He also created the popular chapter program, co-created and helped build key education efforts and marketing initiatives, such as the HIA’s Hemp History Week program.  

Eric’s legacy in the hemp industry is deeply admired-he has demonstrated discerning, passionate leadership. In addition to his service with HIA, Eric pioneered the cofounding of Vote Hemp in 2000, of which he remains President.  Under his leadership, Vote Hemp has become the nation’s foremost hemp lobbying organization working towards full re-commercialization of industrial hemp.  Vote Hemp lead the effort to pass breakthrough hemp language in the Farm Bill and has helped passage of legislation in dozens of states. 

It is our hope that Eric will shepherd the Industrial Hemp Farming Act to become law during the 115th Congress, and we are grateful to him for focusing his insight and experience toward this important task.  You can reach Eric at eric@votehemp.com and (703) 729-2225

After a formal review, we would like to announce our decision to name Colleen Keahey as new Executive Director.  Colleen has been working with Eric Steenstra as National Outreach Coordinator with Vote Hemp since June of 2014.  Colleen joined Vote Hemp after assisting with the development and passage of Tennessee’s hemp law.  She left her role as publisher at a Tennessee non-profit trade association dedicated to rural water industries.  In 2014, Colleen founded the first state chapter of the HIA in Tennessee (TNHIA).  Colleen successfully contributed to hemp pilot program rules and regulations and also held eighteen meetings as leader of TNHIA. Colleen’s skills in non-profit trade association management will bring new opportunities to the HIA and its members. This transition will not disrupt current projects or campaigns, nor interrupt any services HIA provides to its membership.  Members are encouraged to reach out to Colleen with any questions or concerns; she can be reached via colleen@thehia.org and at (707) 874-3648.

We look forward to serving you in 2017-a new year full of opportunity. Join us in congratulating and honoring Eric Steenstra for his years of service! And join us in welcoming Colleen Keahey as the new Executive Director for our association.

– HIA Board of Directors

Lawrence Serbin, President
Hemp Traders Inc.

Eric Pollit, Vice President
Global Hemp

Tyler Frank, Secretary

Hemptopia Apparel


Steve Levine, Treasurer

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps

Anndrea Hermann

The Ridge International Cannabis Consulting

David Bush

DavidLaw

Shaun Crew

Hemp Oil Canada

Richard Dash

Dash Hemp

Rick Krantz

Tahoe Hemp Company

Kentucky approves 12,800 acres for hemp planting in 2017, tripling the previous year’s figures

Growers must pass background check

WCPO Staff

6:46 AM, Jan 6, 2017

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) has approved 209 applications from growers who have been approved to cultivate up to 12,800 acres of industrial hemp for research purposes in 2017, nearly tripling the number of acres that were approved for 2016. More than 525,000 square feet of greenhouse space were approved for indoor growers in 2017.

“By nearly tripling hemp acreage in 2017 and attracting more processors to the state, we are significantly growing opportunities for Kentucky farmers,” said Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, in a news release. “Our strategy is to use KDA’s research pilot program to encourage the industrial hemp industry to expand and prosper in Kentucky. Although it is not clear when Congress might act to remove industrial hemp from the list of controlled substances, my strategic objective is to position the commonwealth’s growers and processors to ultimately prevail as national leaders in industrial hemp production.”

The KDA received a total of 252 applications – 234 grower applications and 18 processor/handler applications. Applicants were asked to identify which harvestable component of the plant would be the focus of their research (floral material, grain, or fiber); some applicants selected more than one component.

In addition to grower applications, KDA approved 11 new applications from processors (in addition to 29 previously approved multi-year processor applications that were not required to reapply). Five universities will also carry out additional research projects in 2017. KDA officials cited the recent decline in commodity prices as one factor that appears to be generating increased interest among Kentucky’s farmers in industrial hemp and other alternative crops.

In 2016, 137 growers were approved to plant up to 4,500 acres. Program participants planted more than 2,350 acres of hemp in 2016, up from 922 acres in 2015 and 33 acres in 2014.

To strengthen KDA’s partnership with state and local law enforcement officers, KDA will provide GPS coordinates of approved industrial hemp planting sites to law enforcement agencies before any hemp is planted. GPS coordinates were required to be submitted on the application. Participants also must pass background checks and consent to allow program staff and law enforcement officers to inspect any premises where hemp or hemp products are being grown, handled, stored or processed.

“We have made collaboration and communication with the law enforcement community a top priority for KDA’s management of this research pilot program,” Quarles said.

Staff with the KDA’s industrial hemp research pilot program evaluated the applications and considered whether returning applicants had complied with instructions from KDA, Kentucky State Police and local law enforcement. To promote transparency and ensure a fair playing field, KDA relied on objective criteria, outlined in the 2017 Policy Guide, to evaluate applications.

The KDA operates its program under the authority of a provision of the 2014 federal farm bill, 7 U.S.C. § 5940, that permits industrial hemp pilot programs in states where hemp production is permitted by state law. For more information and to view the 2017 Policy Guide, please visit the website here.

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