The HIA vs. DEA decision, a ruling in a landmark lawsuit by the hemp industry, has caused a lot of confusion about CBD’s legal status.
The Hemp Industries Association sued the Drug Enforcement Administration last year in an effort to overturn a DEA rule declaring CBD oil illegal. When the court dismissed the case on April 30, based on what was essentially a technical matter, misinformation about the ruling quickly spread online. Since we’re hemp advocates and supporters of access to CBD oil, we knew we had to get to the bottom of the HIA vs. DEA decision and what it means for the industry.
“Our hope was that they would withdraw the rule or go back through the traditional rule making progress,” said Colleen Keahey, executive director at the HIA.
Rather than hear their argument, the court ruled that their case was invalid because the HIA hadn’t participated in an official comment period which took place years ago. Keahey pointed out that the comment period was in 2011, while the DEA waited until 2016 to suddenly claim that CBD is illegal.
While the hemp industry can chalk the ruling up as a loss, all is not as it seems. In fact, the DEA may have been forced to admit that CBD products derived from hemp are actually legal after all.
Why the HIA sued the DEA over CBD
While marijuana, the form of cannabis that makes people feel high, remains illegal at a federal level, most legal experts agree the same isn’t true for industrial hemp.
The 2014 Farm Bill, which Pres. Barack Obama signed in that year, declared industrial hemp legal as long as it’s grown under a state-run hemp program. According to Vote Hemp, 15 states grew hemp last year for a total of over 25,000 acres. One of the most popular products made from this hemp is CBD, or cannabidiol, an extract of hemp which science suggests has numerous healing benefits.
The DEA has tried to claim that all CBD is illegal, even when it’s made from legal hemp.
When a federal court dismissed a lawsuit between the Hemp Industries Association and the DEA, misinformation about the ruling quickly spread online. Since we’re hemp advocates, we knew we had to get to the bottom of the HIA vs. DEA decision and what it means for the industry.