A federal appeals court has voided a rule by the Drug Enforcement Agency that would have dried up the supply of food and beverages made from hemp and affected the domestic manufacture of hemp soap and shampoo.
In a 2-1 ruling Monday the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the rule which would have banned products containing any amount of the psychoactive element of the plant was not properly enacted.
At the heart of the battle is tetrahydrocannabinol — better known as THC — which is what causes the high when people smoke or ingest marijuana. While marijuana is illegal, a 1937 federal law exempted the oil and sterilized seed of the industrial hemp plant from regulation.
In 2001 the DEA proposed a rule to ban all naturally occurring THC in any consumable products. Attorney Patrick Goggin said that would have affected companies such as California-based Nutiva, one of the plaintiffs in the case, which makes snack bars, and sells the meat of shelled hemp seeds and hemp oil capsules.
Arizona lawmakers approved a measure two years ago that would have allowed the state’s three universities to determine if it makes economic sense to try to grow the less psychoactive version of cannabis here.
Gov. Jane Hull vetoed the measure saying that universities should not use their scarce resources on such a project.