An industry association and two hemp companies are arguing that the DEA’s new rule to make hemp-derived CBD oil a controlled substance should come under federal review. Their argument is not that rule is lame or pointless or that it seems to contradict the wishes of the American public and its increasing relaxed laws pertaining to marijuana and medical marijuana (though it could be). Instead, their argument is that the new rule unconstitutional.
The lawsuit was filed on Friday (the 13th) in a California federal court, as reported by Leafly, almost one month to the day after the Drug Enforcement Administration published its “Establishment of New Drug Code for Marihuana Extract” on December 14 of last year. That rule established that CBD oil, even if it was derived from hemp, which was sorta-kinda-sorta not illegal before. That move from the DEA came one day after the agency gave marijuana extracts its own separate drug code, making all extracts derived from cannabis a controlled substance, whether or not it contained forboden cannabinoids such as THC.
The lawsuit comes from hemp-related companies Centuria Natural Foods and RMH Holdings, as well as the Hemp Industries Association. The trio is under advisement from the marijuana-focused Denver law firm Hoban Law Group. Bob Hoban, of the aforementioned firm, told Leafly that the DEA’s new rules oversteps its boundaries and is not indeed legal at all. “The DEA cannot create a statute,” Hoban told Leafly. “That can only be done by Congress.”
The suit asserts that the Drug Enforcement Administration “creates a new drug code without the DEA having followed the procedures or made the findings required” by federal law. The plaintiffs ask that the federal court put the new rule under review as it is, in the words of Leafy, “arbitrary, capricious, and unconstitutional.”
The organizations behind the suit are far from the only critics the DEA’s rule has. Cannabis Business Alliance executive director Mark Malone said that the move creates “unfair barriers for companies with cannabidiol in their products,” and that, “Patients will be forced to find cannabidiol from the unregulated black market.”