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What the HIA vs. DEA Decision Means

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The HIA vs. DEA ruling was a turning point for the hemp industry. That being said, however, there are a number of confusing sentiments that have come forward, especially regarding the legality of hemp. In reference to the Ministry of Hemp, the Hemp Industries Association had filed a suit against the DEA in an effort to overturn a ruling in which the DEA classified hemp as an illegal substance. The court eventually dismissed the DEA hemp case citing technical concerns. From here onwards, there has been a lot of misinformation about the status of hemp, hence the need to gain a proper understanding of what all this is about, and what it means for the hemp industry.

For anyone who has been following the Hemp Industries Association vs. DEA proceedings in the media, it’s was very easy to be misled. This is because there’s a lot of conflicting information in the media regarding the status of hemp, especially with many suggesting that hemp is illegal. One of the highlights of the case was when the DEA had to admit that CBD products that are derived from hemp are legal.

Why Was There a Lawsuit?

It’s interesting that at the Federal level, marijuana, an iteration of cannabis, can make the users feel high, yet it’s legal in so many states. However, hemp is not legal. This formed the basis of the argument by experts in support of the legalization of hemp. It’s important to remember that in 2014 while passing the Farm Bill, President Barack Obama declared the production of industrial hemp legal, but only when it was grown in a hemp program that was run by the state.

Building on this, at least 15 states have been growing hemp, bringing forth a yield of at least 25,000 acres in the process. From this production process, one of the most potent products that were derived was cannabidiol (CBD). This is a hemp extract that, according to scientists, has a lot of healing benefits.

The DEA had a difficult task of proving the illegality of CBD, especially when it was derived from hemp, which is legal. While it’s still possible to find CBD online, most states were sent into a frenzy and confusion given the legal conundrum around hemp.

There are several states where possession of hemp might have been a disastrous affair, especially in Indiana and Wisconsin. A lot of hemp advocates were enjoined in the lawsuit against the DEA with the HIA. These are parties whose vested interests in the growth and production of hemp meant they needed a clear and amicable ending to the HIA vs. DEA situation.

Imagine being able to force the government into action, and to amend legislation on something as controversial as hemp.

What became apparent is that a lot of people who were interested in this suit didn’t really understand its impact on society and the industry as a whole. This is why passing a Senate bill, the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, is seen as a step in the right direction towards the legalization of hemp and derivatives such as CBD, and finally moving all control away from the overbearing DEA.


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