Washington: Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.; Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.; Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo.; and Rep. Tom Massie, R-Ky.; defended hemp farmers and businesses, authoring an amicus brief to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the Hemp Industries Assn, et. al. v. D.E.A. case.
Hemp farmers and businesses filed the case after the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) instituted a rule that classifies parts of hemp and its extracts as a Schedule I drug. Labeling hemp as a Schedule I drug directly contradicts the 2014 Farm Bill, in which Congress defines hemp as any part of the plant that contains “not more than 0.3 percent [THC].” It also jeopardizes a bipartisan, congressionally-established program that allows states the freedom to research and develop hemp without interference from the federal government. States, universities, and private industry have followed through and created a bourgeoning hemp industry that is estimated at $1 billion.
“Congress took a common-sense step in 2014 by making it legal to grow industrial hemp for research in the United States, yet the DEA remains strangely fixated on lurching this policy backward to prohibit American farmers from legally growing this crop. It’s time to end this unfounded campaign against hemp so hardworking American farmers and entrepreneurs can grow, produce and sell products from this crop that has vast potential to bolster our country’s economy,” said Sen. Wyden.
“We have made too much progress on removing government restrictions on this vital resource to allow it to be threatened by overzealous regulators. Left unchallenged, the DEA’s decision could devastate a resurging industry. By filing this amicus brief, we are standing up for the farmers, universities, small businesses, and states that are already benefiting from greater freedom to research and use industrial hemp,” said Sen. Paul.
“It is a joke to classify hemp as a Schedule I drug. People don’t smoke hemp. They use it as paper, lotion, clothing, biofuel, and so much more,” said Polis. “The DEA needs to stop cracking down on the hemp ice cream we give our kids and get its priorities straight. Congress may not agree on much these days, but we did agree that states should be allowed to foster a hemp industry, free from federal interference, just like in the time of our founding fathers. The DEA has no choice but to follow Congress’s intent, and I am hopeful the courts will side with Congress and hemp farmers everywhere.”
“The DEA is distorting the clear language of our amendment. Industrial hemp is a sustainable crop and represents a great economic opportunity for Kentucky farmers. This crop should never have been banned in our country,” said Rep. Massie.
The court will begin hearing arguments on Feb. 15.