On June 10, 2016, a petition was presented to the DEA, asking that the Administrator initiate proceedings for the amendment of a rule or regulation pertaining to section 201 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 811).
The subject is hemp and the petitioners include businesses, farmers, attorneys, elected officials, entrepreneurs, technical experts, public policy advocates and non-profit organizations.
The existing language of this Act lumps marijuana and hemp into the same category. Industrial hemp is incorrectly classified as a Schedule I drug. In pattern and practice, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has effectively rendered industrial hemp illegal to cultivate, which severely limits the manufacture and commerce of products made from industrial hemp.
Since the early 1990s, there has been a resurgence of interest in allowing commercial cultivation of industrial hemp in the United States. Several states have conducted economic or market studies and have initiated or passed legislation to expand state level resources and production.
You would think that enough time has passed that legislators would have addressed the incorrect language that remains in this Act. This would allow the country to move forward with raising and creating natural sustainable foodstuffs and products from hemp. However, the government believes that a resolution was made by passing the Agricultural Act of 2014 (P.L. 113), providing that certain research institutions and state department of agriculture may grow industrial hemp, as part of an agricultural pilot program.
As with any business conducted on the Federal Government level, a simple fix has turned into a major undertaking. With over 132 pages of explanation, this group of experienced and educated petitioners has taken up the cause to pave a simplistic road for the cultivation and marketing of industrial hemp.
Keep your eyes open for a scheduled hearing and an outcome. More than likely, there will be a compromise to consider, plus increased red tape and bureuocracy for a simple correction.