Hoban Law Group, a legal firm specializing in cannabis law and policy, has filed a petition to challenge what it says appears to be an attempt by the USA’s Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) to control an otherwise lawful substance.
“This is an action beyond the DEA’s authority. This Final Rule serves to threaten hundreds, if not thousands, of growing businesses, with massive economic and industry expansion opportunities, all of which conduct lawful business compliant with existing policy as it is understood and in reliance upon the Federal Government,” says Hoban Law Group Managing Partner Bob Hoban.
Hoban Law Group states the DEA’s Final Rule specifies the presence of any cannabinoid extracted from cannabis automatically renders that substance a “marihuana extract,” even though no cannabinoid except for (synthetic) THC has been expressly scheduled under the Controlled Substances Act.
More than 80 cannabinoids are contained in Cannabis Sativa; most of which – including cannabidiol – are non-intoxicating.
It says it also fails to recognize that cannabinoids can be derived from sources other than the cannabis plant, making the provenance of cannabinoids very difficult to prove. Plants that contain cannabinoids include the coneflower, electric daisy and liverwort. Cannabinoids can also be found in chocolate and black pepper.
While the DEA has said the Final Rule was simply an administrative measure, Hoban Law Group believes it to be a misuse of the drug code that may result in abuse by and confusion among local, state and federal agencies, and “create a chilling effect” on the industrial hemp industry.
The firm says the DEA has attempted to unilaterally reclassify cannabinoids in the past – and failed.
Another attorney, Rod Knight, says the DEA’s new rules contradict laws already passed by Congress.
“When Congress and an executive agency, like the DEA, come into conflict with what they say, Congress wins,” stated Mr. Knight.
While Congress can pass laws, the DEA can only ensure those laws are complied with.