Ninth Circuit Court Rejects Challenge To DEA’s Classification Of Marijuana Extracts

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director May 2, 2018

    A three judge panel for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied a petition filed by the Hemp Industries Association challenging the DEA’s authority to establish a new administrative drug code specifically for marijuana extracts. The DEA first announced the proposed rule change in 2011, but did not enact the new policy until January 13, 2017.

    In a decision filed on April 30, the Court rejected petitioners’ arguments – opining the DEA’s classification of marijuana extracts does not conflict with the provisions of either the Agricultural Act of 2014 (aka the ‘Farm Bill) or the Consolidated Appropriations Act, which limits the Justice Department from spending federal dollars to intervene in state-sanctioned activities involving marijuana or industrial hemp. The Court also dismissed petitioners’ argument that the rule substantively amended the federal Controlled Substances Act. Justices opined that such extract products, including those containing primarily CBD, were already classified under federal law as schedule I controlled substances.

    The DEA has long contended that it possesses broad regulatory authority over “all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L.,” including “the resin extracted from any part of such plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resin.” The agency includes among this definition products containing cannabidiol or any other non-THC cannabinoids derived from the marijuana plant. It further states, “[T]he Agricultural Act of 2014 does not permit entities [who are not registered with the DEA] … to produce non-FDA-approved drug products made from cannabis.”

    Over a dozen states have enacted legislation in recent years exempting certain persons who possess extracts high in cannabinoid from criminal prosecution. Legislation to approve the retail sale of CBD extracts to adults in Kansas is awaiting gubernatorial action. Indiana lawmakers approved a similar law in April. Several pieces of legislation seeking to exclude CBD from the federal definition of marijuana are pending in Congress. In 2015, Nora Volkow, the Director of the US National Institute on Drug Abuse, publicly acknowledged that CBD is “a safe drug with no addictive effects.”

    Petitioners say that they intend to appeal the ruling.

    The case is Hemp Industries Association et al., v. US Drug Enforcement Administration et al., (No. 17-70162).

    23 responses to “Ninth Circuit Court Rejects Challenge To DEA’s Classification Of Marijuana Extracts”

    1. Matt says:

      sigh, do appeal….at least this will not last much longer

    2. Matt says:

      news out of Maine today, LePage veto overturned

    3. Russell Davis says:

      And the refer madness continues

    4. TheOracle says:

      Cannabis helps people. The only reason any kind of a code should be established is if it’s a medical billing code that health insurers use to pay for it. And then it isn’t the whole plant that’s useless with no recognized medical use.

      Clubs eliminated in Maine


      Prohibitionists keep upholding the old guard policies of people who are long dead, and if they still were alive ought to be confronted with the evidence to change their minds. Just ignore the feds and everybody keep on target for this summer’s July coordinated legalization hurdle.

    5. TheOracle says:

      Too bad Maine’s going to take a year. Rent a summer cabin up there, get gifted weed to go with it, I could go for that.

      Hey Maine $kaching$

    6. Dain Bramage says:

      Whether or not the ruling was technically correct, I can’t say; but I do see this creation of a new classification as a political move by the DEA, to simultaneously placate both Big Pharma, who wants in on the money, and The Prison Industrial Complex, and Law Enforcement, who is addicted to the drug war.

      And that ain’t good. It suggests medicine for the wealthy, and prison for the poor.

      • Julian says:

        You nailed it, Dain. The rich would not live unless the poor would deny. And if we worked with eachother we could all get High.

      • Carl says:

        You said a whole bunch of truth in a nut shell,Lets overgrow the Government,Good days ahead?

    7. Julian says:

      The Courts are interpreting our fu€*#d up laws like the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 which gives unconstitutional authority to an executive agency, the DEA, to legislate our marijuana policy. This problem won’t be fixed by the courts or anybody unless Democrats get out and vote and Republicans tell their prohibitionist candidates to fu€* off.

    8. Sean says:

      Welcome to the DEA States of America. We’re living in a DEA dictatorship.

      • Carl says:

        GOD is perfect,Man is not,Man made drugs ,GOD made Pot,Who are you going to trust? When the DEA ,The FDA, And all the other Crooks get the language the way they want it ,You can pay the Doctor pay the Pharmacy,and go home broke . The best solution is Grow your own? Peace LOVE, and healthy days to come.

    9. Wolf says:

      For the Pharma co’s its the old joke “its no good, we can’t patent it.”

    10. Lynn Kempen says:

      The government has no valid reason, or just authority, to keep this NON-TOXIC, most utilitarian (therefore profitable) plant from we-the-people. Cannabis prohibition was based on lies and propaganda, and this is readily proven. Every government official who continues to uphold such prohibitionist profiteering policy should be charged with racketeering under the RICO Act.