Hemp is a variety of the cannabis plant that can be used to make food products such as milk, cereal, and even protein powder. Although the plant contains insignificantly low levels of THC (the psychoactive property in marijuana), hemp businesses are still facing pushback from the government, even with the growing acceptance and legalization of recreational marijuana in certain states.
The non-profit Hemp Industries Association (HIA) has filed a motion to hold the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in contempt of court for the alleged violation of an order that prohibits the regulation of hemp food products as Schedule I controlled substances by the agency, according to the HIA website.
In December 2016, the DEA and North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA) told Healthy Oilseeds, LLC that a shipment of products made with hemp grown under the state’s hemp pilot program needed a permit from the DEA because the plant was subject to regulation.
“The DEA must stop treating hemp, hempseed and hempseed oil, which is a nutritious ingredient, as something illicit,” Colleen Keahey, executive director of the Hemp Industries Association, said in a statement.
“We have to address the challenges that thwart the domestic industry's progress and especially those that mislead state Departments of Agriculture and limit entry of legal hemp products into the marketplace."
On Jan. 13, the HIA filed a Petition for Review with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals against the regulation of hemp food products.