Hoban Law Group Lunch and Learn – National Hemp Industry Roadblocks from the DEA and FDA – Part 1

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Hoban Law Group Lunch and Learn with 101CBD CEO Justin Benton

Watch this Lunch and Learn with Senior Attorney Patrick Goggin, a world-renowned legal hemp expert, as he provides us all much-needed clarity on the latest legal challenges facing the hemp industry in the United States.

Like all companies in this newly emerging industry, 101 Hemp stays well-informed to help protect the future of the hemp industry.  We all need to be aware of the attempts to limit agricultural hemp and hemp products in the US both as business owners and as consumers.

The Hoban Law Group is part of the Unity Group, a coalition of lawyers representing the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) and RE Botanicals, Inc as they attempt to push back against recent actions from the DEA.  The Unity Group and RE Botanicals recently filed a complaint in federal court against the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) citing regulatory overreach that is threatening to destroy the emerging hemp industry that was recently legalized by the 2018 Farm Bill. 

Hoban Law Group

The projected earnings of this new industry have been estimated at over two billion for 2020. This goal can only be met if the regulations and supports of the 2018 Farm Bill are implemented without interference from other federal agencies.

The plaintiffs allege the DEA is misrepresenting the 2018 Farm Bill provisions for hemp production in a “long-running attempt to regulate the production of legal hemp in excess of its statutory and delegated authority.”

The plaintiffs allege the DEA overreach effectively prevents the US hemp industry from establishing itself like other legal agricultural businesses.

The plaintiffs argue the 2018 Farm Bill delegates exclusive authority over hemp production to the USDA with only one minor exception for the FDA.

“Hemp processors and manufacturers who work with or store IHM or WHM must now choose between ceasing to process, manufacture, and/or store hemp or obtaining a Schedule I license from the DEA, or risking criminal prosecution under the CSA.”

Given the central importance of hemp processing in the hemp supply chain, forcing processors to choose between these three negative options listed above would, in essence, effectively destroy the entire hemp industry.

This confusion at the federal regulatory level regarding hemp also resulted in hemp growers not receiving some types of federal disaster relief available to growers of other crops during 2020 with its global economic and climate crises.

There also remains problems with access to financial services such as bank loans due to the confusion regarding the hemp industry at the federal level.

To quote one of the lawyers in the suit…

“{The} DEA’s latest jurisdictional overstep threatens every stage of the hemp production supply chain and jeopardizes the entire hemp industry. If it is allowed to stand, DEA’s intrusion will undermine a linchpin of the new hemp economy that has created thousands of new jobs and provided a lucrative new crop for America’s struggling farmers.”

There is also a previous action filed by the HIA and RE Botanicals, a petition for review in federal court against the DEA and its Acting Administrator Timothy Shea against the Interim Final Rule (IFR) issued by the DEA in August 2020.

Hemp Farmers in Ventura County

The IFR issued by the DEA said the statutory amendments in the 2018 Farm Bill do not remove essential steps of hemp production from its control. The rule states that any cannabis product with more than .3% THC, including hemp crops and extracts, still fall under the DEA and are to be classified as an illegal drug under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

Industry members argue the raw materials and extracts can unintentionally exceed this limit, but the limit is met during processing to create legal products.

A second federal agency creating roadblocks with the projected success of the US hemp industry is the Food and Drug Agency(FDA).  The FDA has had ample time to  collect input from the industry and consumers to provide the necessary rulings and guidance. This lack of rulings or guidance, especially in the areas of production, safety, labeling, and approval for hemp extractions in food and beverages, leaves consumers and the entire industry in a state of confusion.

Hemp and CBD companies with high standards self-police through third-party laboratory testing to assure consumers of the safety and ingredient levels on their labels. The lack of FDA standardization of requirements does allow “bad actors” to flourish and “buyer beware” remains in force instead of regulations.

Besides the ongoing problems with the DEA and FDA, the hemp industry needs support and clarity from the USDA, the courts, and Congress to support the legislative intent of the 2018 Farm Bill and allow this industry to function as was intended and provide the wide range of benefits this unique plant provides.

Stay tuned for Part II as Justin discusses the background of 101 Hemp and plans for the future. Patrick provides information on the current hemp industry concerns in the state of California.

Janet Benton Gaillard, Ed.S

About the Author

Janet Benton Gaillard, Ed.S, has worked professionally with children and adults with autism and a range of disabilities in educational, residential, and vocational settings. She is a certified by the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and has focused on holistic solutions for health for many years. Her current writing focuses on applying her research on the benefits of holistic hemp products such as raw, whole plant CBDA with organic ingredients to autism and a range of other challenges.


About Mollie & her Family

Mollie Benton is the co-founder of 101 Hemp and freelance writer for the 101 Hemp blog. She enjoys running on the beach with her two Labs, adventuring with her hubby and three kids, and devoting her life to healing the world.