DEA’s rule on cannabis extracts will stand, federal judges say
Hemp industry sued to overturn coding they saw could lead to improper seizure of products, arrest of makers
May 2, 2018
A federal appeals court this week dealt a blow to makers of CBD-rich cannabis extracts who were trying to stop the Drug Enforcement Administration from considering their products as dangerous drugs.
A panel of judges for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals shot down the hemp industry's challenge of a DEA rule that established a drug code for marijuana extracts.
DEA officials had said the code was intended to track cannabis derivatives used in research and to meet treaty obligations, adding that these extracts and byproducts remain Schedule I substances that the government says have no accepted medical use, such as heroin, LSD, peyote and ecstasy.
Hemp industry leaders pushed back on that Schedule I assertion and the rule itself.
Represented by Denver-based cannabis law firm Hoban Law Group, the Hemp Industries Association and other hemp businesses challenged the DEA's rule and alleged the agency overstepped its bounds by essentially scheduling substances — notably cannabinoids — that were not classified as illicit in the Controlled Substances Act. Additionally, they argued, the hemp-derived extracts rich in CBD, or cannabinol, are protected under state laws and Farm Bill provisions.