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Companies Sue DEA Over Recent CBD Rule

January 13, 2017
Two hemp-related companies and an industry association filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) this afternoon in a California federal court, seeking to overturn the DEA’s attempt last month to codify the illegality of cannabidiol (CBD).

The DEA’s final rule, called the “Establishment of New Drug Code for Marihuana Extract,” was published on Dec. 14, 2016. While officially dealing with a technicality about the classification of cannabis products, the rule included a clause that specifically declared CBD, a non-intoxicating component of cannabis, to be a Schedule I substance. The insertion of that clause could be potentially devastating to thousands of patients and businesses who rely on and produce CBD products. A number of industry officials and legal experts immediately cast doubt on the legality of the DEA’s move.

The Hemp Industries Association joined with RMH Holdings and Centuria Natural Foods to challenge the DEA’s rule. The group is being advised by the Hoban Law Group, a cannabis-focused law firm based in Denver.

“The DEA cannot create a statute,” Bob Hoban, the firm’s managing partner, told Leafly in an interview last month. “That can only be done by Congress.”

The lawsuit charges that the final rule published by the DEA in the Federal Register last month “creates a new drug code without the DEA having followed the procedures or made the findings required” by the Controlled Substances Act.

The DEA’s Final Rule takes the position that the mere presence of any cannabinoid extracted from the Cannabis plant automatically renders that substance a “marihuana extract,” despite no cannabinoid except for (synthetic) THC being expressly scheduled under the Controlled Substances Act

The suit asks the federal court to review the final rule on the grounds that is arbitrary, capricious, and unconstitutional.

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Gage Peake

Gage Peake is a former staff writer for Leafly, where he specialized in data journalism, sports, and breaking news coverage. He's a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

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  • MG Deegan

    I smoke it 24/7 I am medcail marijuana patient card holder I have card us Canada gaum help stronger

    • Ron Beckett

      Your typos suggest you have just had your medication?

  • Darius A Stokes

    They don’t this for tobacco they give guidelines with use. Why not For smoking cannabis and they both are food product that’s a Stereotype, Seems like there’s a Conflict of interest, Defamation of character,
    Favoritism it all is and a part and from Segregation. It is illegal and
    its not going to change until it’s gone Why?

  • Cam Fas

    They just need to go ahead and deschedule cannabis and it should be done this year. The amount of lawsuits coming are probably going to be insane and Trump wants to be the jobs president. If he is for states rights he should just come out and get that crap out of the controlled substance act that is most likely unconstitutional. At least if he does that then he isnt technically endorsing it. He could come out and say instead he is literally leaving it to the states since thats the only way to really have a hands off approach.

  • Johnny oneye

    Whole foods market sells HEMP products and DR BRONNER has fought for years to allow HEMP PRODUCTS to come to market
    The “FarmBill ” in the US allows farmers to grow #HEMP >.03 Delta9
    several states allow HEMP farming
    FEDS are trying to save their ass and face at the same
    #quitlying it’s #Saferthantap water
    Corporate control of government entities protecting their bottom line

  • massvocals

    WHO id the DEA to make Law ? when an agency like the iRS and FBI ,DEA whom was to respectfully take the instruction of law and not by any means make rules or regulation that citizen must endure by enforcement , when a policy or regulation is then enforce by same agency This is no longer a constitutional respect , Its unconstitutional to allow a agency to make its own regulation and policy this violates the 3 branches of government , NO one branch can allow nor respect to power transfer its power to an agency , the DEA has no right to make law regulation or policy this is contempt of the order , it leaves out the will of the people ,

  • Royce Good

    best way to fix things is disband the DEA the war on drugs is over they lost so fuck off usa gov

  • Brenda Medeiros

    I need to know if CBD drops oil drops cause high blood pressure ..

    • Steven L. Brock IV

      No it helps to lower it,,

  • Denise Mullins Baranick

    The dea is going to dam far,by all means and is illegal in what they r doing,and they dam sure r not doctors,

  • Steven L. Brock IV

    Sue the DEA,,WTG,,

  • Steven J. Brock IV

    I think Dr.s and companies need to form a Class action law suit against the dea,they dam sure don’t have a problem with a DRUG that comes out and kills a lot of people,along with the fda,put them in their place,and now cherry picking is bs,we want jobs and look at the jobs MJ and it’s components has created,bunch of liberal azz ho’s,

  • Steven J. Brock IV

    Keep on suing those no minded people,it is about time we do that,wtg,,,

  • Ryan Martin

    So where does this lawsuit currently stand in 2018? Is it still illegal to ship or posses CBD oil?