Victory for Hemp II


Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit once again rebuked the Drug Enforcement Administration for its bizarre, lawless attempt to ban foods made from nonpsychoactive hemp seed. Noting that the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) specifically excludes hemp seeds from the definition of marijuana, the court said the DEA could not ban them by treating the trace amounts of terahydrocannabinol they contain the same as synthesized THC. "The DEA has no authority to regulate drugs that are not scheduled," Judge Betty Fletcher wrote, "and it has not followed procedures required to schedule a substance. The DEA's definition of 'THC' contravenes the unambiguously expressed intent of Congress in the CSA and cannot be upheld."

This was the second time the DEA tried to ban hemp foods. First it tried to get by with a mere "interpretive rule," pretending it was not really changing the law. When the 9th Circuit rejected that maneuver, the DEA restated the ban in the form of new regulations, which today's ruling overturned. Since the 9th Circuit put a hold on enforcement of the ban pending resolution of the case, the cereals, snacks, and salad dressings the DEA found so offensive were never taken off the market.