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  • 11 Jan 2018 5:11 PM | Erin Pully (Administrator)

    State Legalized Hemp Farming Programs Remain Legal Under Farm Bill 


    WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Hemp Industries Association (HIA), the leading non-profit trade association for 24 years consisting of hundreds of hemp businesses, has released its statement in response to the January 4, 2018, announcement by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the Department of Justice would immediately rescind five memoranda issued under the Obama administration that provided guidance on criminal prosecution of marijuana-related offenses under federal law. The five memoranda collectively addressed medical use of marijuana; general enforcement of marijuana laws; marijuana-related financial crimes; and marijuana issues on tribal lands. The best known of the memoranda was issued by Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole on August 29, 2013. In it, the Department of Justice announced a general policy of non-enforcement of federal marijuana law in states that had instituted their own "strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems," which served to protect public health and safety and did not implicate certain federal law enforcement priorities.

    Because the definition of “marihuana” under the Controlled Substances Act does not distinguish between marijuana and industrial hemp, the rescinded guidance memoranda all implied inclusion of — and effectively gave some protection to — industrial hemp farming programs. The collection of federal memoranda had established a general policy of federal non-interference in otherwise state-legal enterprises engaged in cultivation, processing and sale of marijuana, as well as industrial hemp plants and products. The January 4 announcement by Attorney General Sessions has given rise to questions about the continued sustainability of industrial hemp in states where such activities are legal. 

    It is the position of the Hemp Industries Association that industrial hemp remains protected under exemptions to the Controlled Substances Act, per §7606 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the “Farm Bill”), which permits the cultivation of industrial hemp by institutions of higher education and under state agricultural pilot programs, as defined for purposes of research. Additionally, the U.S. Consolidated Appropriations Acts of both 2016 and 2017 include a provision that disallows the use of federal funds “to prohibit the transportation, processing, sale, or use of industrial hemp that is grown or cultivated in accordance with the [Farm Bill] within or outside the State in which the industrial hemp was grown.” This further precludes the Department of Justice from pursuing legal action against Farm Bill compliant hemp farming, processing, manufacturing and commerce. 

    Hence, while the recent developments by the Department of Justice regarding marijuana are concerning, the Hemp Industries Association stands firm that industrial hemp business activities will continue to expand and flourish in the United States. 

    “As we extol our optimism regarding industrial hemp, we must also make it clear that the HIA does not support the recent rescission action by the Department of Justice,” said Colleen Keahey, executive director of the Hemp Industries Association. “This rescission stands to impact important business relationships that exist between industrial hemp brands and hemp product manufacturers, and the legal retail marijuana market. Marijuana retailers reach a focused pro-Cannabis market where hemp clothing, food, paper, plastics and hemp-derived CBD product sales are known to perform well,” she continued. 

    “This decision is a step backward for U.S. Cannabis policy, and boldly ignores voters who overwhelmingly support marijuana legalization. If anything, the threat by the Department of Justice to crack down on statelegal marijuana could result in spurring Congress to once-and-for-all act to fully and finally protect the growth and expansion of the new American hemp economy,” said Joy Beckerman, Hemp Industries Association Board Vice President. 

    The HIA acknowledges that the recent action by U.S. Attorney General Sessions is cause for concern, however this change does not give way to concern for the hemp industries. The HIA will share calls-toaction regarding necessary amendments to the U.S. Industrial Hemp Farming Act (H.R. 3530), related hemp legislation, including Industrial Hemp Banking Act (H.R. 4711), as well as the association’s position on the next Farm Bill. The HIA will continue to be work with fellow hemp organizations in support of pro-hemp policies to ensure the Farm Bill offers more comprehensive language to improve and expand upon the reintroduction of industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity in the U.S.  


    The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) represents the interests of the hemp industry and encourages the research and development of new hemp products. More information about hemp’s many uses and hemp advocacy may be found at

  • 18 Sep 2017 2:25 PM | Colleen Keahey (Administrator)

    On or around August 15th, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) opened for public comment on to assist them in preparing a response to the World Health Organization concerning cannabidiol (CBD). The original deadline was listed as September 13th which was extended on September 11th to September 20th. Here is their summary: 

    "The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is requesting interested persons to submit comments concerning abuse potential, actual abuse, medical usefulness, trafficking, and impact of scheduling changes on availability for medical use of 17 drug substances. These comments will be considered in preparing a response from the United States to the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding the abuse liability and diversion of these drugs. WHO will use this information to consider whether to recommend that certain international restrictions be placed on these drugs. This notice requesting comments is required by the Controlled Substances Act (the CSA)." -

    The following comment was submitted by HIA on September 13, 2017. 
    See official submission document here. 

    To Federal Drug Administration

    Re: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Notice: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Notice: International Drug Scheduling; Convention on Psychotropic Substances; Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs; Ocfentanil, Carfentanil, Pregabalin, Tramadol, Cannabidiol, Ketamine, and Eleven Other Substances; Request for Comments

    To Whom it May Concern:

    My name is Colleen Keahey and I am the executive director of the Hemp Industries Association (HIA), which is the oldest and largest 501(c)6 association dedicated to industrial hemp, including 596 members. Industrial hemp is defined in the American Agricultural Act of 2014, Section 7606 as “the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.” One-third of the HIA memberships identify in the cannabidiol (CBD) category as business stakeholders, CBD-dominant plant growers and CBD experts and advocates.

    The following response is submitted on behalf of our association to express that the naturally occurring chemical CBD does not have the potential for abuse and is beneficial. Also, it is our review that despite the Drug Enforcement Administration’s claims, hemp-derived CBD is not a controlled substance which has never been designated as such by an act of Congress.

    Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the naturally-occurring, non-psychotropic and non-intoxicating phytocannabinoids in industrial hemp and ought to be universally accessible to people of all ages with no international restrictions as CBD is not addictive, not harmful, nor does it have the potential for abuse.

    Industrial hemp extracts rich in non-psychotropic cannabinoids are valuable ingredients for food and food supplements. Because it is naturally occurring in hemp, CBD has been consumed in one form or another for generations as nutritious food. With the discovery of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) in the 1990s, it was also discovered that consuming naturally occurring phytocannabinoids, especially CBD, has shown potential benefits to overall well being in a wide range of applications, improving quality of life through health and wellness. (Hampson, A. J., Grimaldi, M., Axelrod, J., & Wink, D. (1998): Cannabidiol and (-−) Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol are neuroprotective antioxidants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 95(14), 8268-8273.)

    These include antioxidative, neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects. (U.S. Patent #6630507 - Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=/netahtml/PTO/srchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=6630507.PN.&OS=PN/6630507&RS=PN/6630507)

    For example, CBD is a neuroprotective antioxidant more potent than ascorbate, also known as Vitamin C, or tocopherol, also known as Vitamin E.(Hampson, A. J., Grimaldi, M., Axelrod, J., & Wink, D. (1998): Cannabidiol and (-−) Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol are neuroprotective antioxidants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 95(14), 8268-8273)

    Similarly to consuming Vitamin C and Vitamin C-rich foods in order to prevent illnesses like hypoascobemia, also known as scurvy, humans can safely consume phytocannabinoids as a nutritive preventative health measure for immune and neurological health.

    The ECS is a group of endogenous cannabinoid receptors located in the mammalian brain and throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems, consisting of neuromodulatory lipids, or endocannabinoids, and their receptors. The ECS is involved in a variety of physiological processes including appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory, and in mediating the effects of the phytocannabinoids in cannabis, as they are metabolized similarly to the body’s own endocannabindoids. The places where certain cannabinoid receptors are absent in the body are in the medulla oblongata and the brain stem. With the brainstem and medulla oblongata responsible for cardiovascular and respiratory functions, the lack of cannabinoid receptors on the medulla might suggest why there has never been a case of lethal overdose from consuming naturally occurring phytocannabinoids, regardless of the amount consumed or the method of consumption.  (Wolfgang Dostmann, PhD and Karen M. Lounsbury, PhD. The Science of Medical Cannabis.

    The last couple of years have seen growing interest in CBD. Cannabidiol not only has a plethora of beneficial health effects, but it also has no relevant side effects, even when it is administered at high doses. A comprehensive review on the safety and side effects of CBD shows that even very high doses of CBD are safe and well tolerated without significant side effects. In a total of 132 reviewed publications, CBD did not induce catalepsy; it did not affect factors such as heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, gastrointestinal transit, nor did it alter psychomotor and cognitive functions.(Bergamaschi, M. M., Queiroz, R. H. C., Zuardi, A. W. & Crippa, J. A. S. (2011): Safety and side effects of cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent. Current drug safety, 6(4), 237-249. Information on toxicological effects: IVN-MUS LD50: 50 mg/kg; IVN-DOG LD50: >254 mg/kg; IVN-MKY LD50: 212 mg/kg; ORL-MKY TDL: 27 gm/kg; ORL-MUS TDL: 750 mg/kg.)

    Because of its inherent physiological safety, CBD is increasingly used as a food supplement and in food supplement compositions, and as an ingredient in cosmetics, thereby generating new investments and creating employment in the cultivation and processing of hemp and hemp-derived products.

    In Colorado, one of the states in the U.S. with policy supportive of growing hemp as an agricultural product, manufacturers selling consumable hemp-derived CBD products in Denver are permitted by state law to source hemp from within and outside of Colorado, provided all parts of the hemp plant originate from a cultivator regulated under an “industrial hemp for consumption” program that applies safe consumption criteria.

    In April 2017, Denver’s Department of Environmental Health (DEH) published guidance regarding cannabidiol (CBD) products manufactured or sold in Denver. At that time, DEH also restricted the sale of hemp-derived CBD products originating from unregulated sources due to consumer safety concerns, including, but not limited to, accurate labeling, and toxin contamination of heavy metals, pesticides, molds, etc. in the concentrated products. However, hemp-derived CBD manufacturers were still able to pursue approval to sell in Denver by submitting documentation demonstrating evidence of safe and standardized operations.

    In July, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) announced they will now accept wholesale food manufacturing registration applications for edible CBD product manufacturers. Approved manufacturers will be regulated under the Colorado Wholesale Manufacturing Food Regulations. CDPHE also indicated that hemp sourced from outside of Colorado is considered from an approved source provided all utilized parts of the hemp plant originate from a cultivator operating under a regulated industrial hemp program which applies safe consumption criteria. Since CDPHE's announcement, DEH has followed the same standards set by CDPHE. (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Update on Requirements for Hemp-Derived CBD Products Sold in Denver, September 1, 2017.

    With pharmaceutical products having CBD as an active ingredient being developed, the Hemp Industries Association urges the industry to not make any unwarranted health claims when using CBD-rich extracts or tinctures in food and food supplements. 

    The Hemp Industries Association is strictly opposed to the attempts by a few pharmaceutical companies to make CBD a prescription-only drug. The Hemp Industries Association asks that the FDA not privilege pharmaceutical company priorities at the expense of the U.S. domestic hemp agricultural sector and the cannabinoid nutraceutical industry worldwide in its recommendation to the World Health Organization regarding CBD.

    Thank you for your review of this comment in consideration of cannabidiol (CBD).

    Signed HIA Executive Director,
    Colleen Keahey

  • 09 Aug 2017 3:12 PM | Erin Pully (Administrator)

    Experts, Educators, Entrepreneurs, Farmers and Business Owners
    Convene to “Share the Vision” 

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Hemp Industries Association (HIA), a non-profit trade association consisting of hundreds of hemp businesses, will host its annual conference Saturday, September 9, 2017, through Monday, September 11, 2017, in Lexington, Kentucky. The 24th annual conference will feature a hemp research field day and farm tour of the University of Kentucky Spindletop Research Farm, and additionally a separate private research facility and processing plant; two days of speaker and panel programming; and a hemp exhibition open to the public. Prior to the hemp research field day & farm tour, there will be a members-only annual general meeting on Friday September 8. The conference will focus on the theme Share the Vision, and is expected to be the most highly attended conference in the history of the HIA.  The Share the Vision HIA conference is coordinated in partnership with the American Society of Agronomy, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, and the Crop Science Society of America.

    Media are welcome to attend. Please contact Lauren Stansbury,, to request a press pass.

    “Our 24th annual conference for the Hemp Industries Association will bring together top experts in the industry, as well as farmers, entrepreneurs and advocates who are creating the future of hemp farming and manufacturing in the U.S.  Kentucky’s former Agriculture Commissioner and hemp pilot program pioneer turned Congressman, U.S. House Representative James Comer (R-KY) is expected to speak on national policy, which is a highlight given his primarily sponsorship of the recently introduced Industrial Hemp Farming Act, H.R. 3530.” said Colleen Keahey, Executive Director of the Hemp Industries Association. “Also, we are thrilled to open the conference exhibition to the public and continue to educate consumers and voters about the versatile applications 

    and many benefits of hemp and growing hemp domestically.”

    The presenting sponsor of this year’s event is CW Hemp, a member of HIA since 2015.  CW Hemp’s mission is to improve life. CW Hemp proudly grows non-GMO Charlotte’s Web hemp genetics by the Stanley Brothers on family farms, and turns it into premium whole-plant hemp extract and botanical products for health and wellness. To further strengthen this mission, CW Hemp supports the non-profit, Realm of Caring, to advance cannabinoid research, resources and education for those in need of cannabinoid therapies.

    The HIA conference is further supported by multi-level sponsorships, including premier sponsor CBD USA Grown, title sponsors Atalo Holdings, Blue Circle Development, CV Sciences and GenCanna, and major sponsors Dr. Bronner’s and Fresh Hemp Foods.

    Programming and seminars at the conference will cover a broad range of issues, including hemp food science, agronomy and fiber science; industry economics and plant genetics; federal and state policy; cutting-edge cannabinoid research, hemp product manufacturing and feature scientific poster presentations. The conference also offers excellent opportunity for networking and business development. 

    For a more information as well as a complete list of sponsors and exhibitors and conference registration, please visit the HIA website:

    #   #   #

    The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) represents the interests of the hemp industry and encourages the research and development of new hemp products.  More information about hemp’s many uses and hemp advocacy may be found at

  • 06 Feb 2017 1:25 PM | Colleen Keahey (Administrator)

    Agency Ignores Prior Court Ruling and Clear Congressional Intent in the 2014 Farm Bill; Leading Hemp Trade Group Takes Action to Protect American Hemp Farmers, Businesses from Unlawful DEA Registration Requirements

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Hemp Industries Association (HIA), the leading non-profit trade association consisting of hundreds of hemp businesses, has filed a motion to hold the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in contempt of court for violating an unchallenged, long-standing order issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco, prohibiting the agency from regulating hemp food products as Schedule I controlled substances. Specifically, the HIA asserts that the DEA continues to operate with blatant disregard for the 2004 ruling made by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which permanently enjoined the DEA from regulating hemp fiber, stalk, sterilized seed and oil, which are specifically exempted from the definition of ‘marijuana’ in the federal Controlled Substances Act. 

    To read the motion, please visit:

    “We will not stand idly by while the DEA flouts the will of Congress, violates the Ninth Circuit order, and harasses honest hemp producers trying to make a living with this in-demand crop,” said Colleen Keahey, Executive Director of the Hemp Industries Association. “Hemp is a healthy superfood with vital nutrients such as Omegas 3 and 6, protein, fiber and all 10 essential amino acids that are ideal for today’s family.  The DEA must stop treating hemp, hempseed and hempseed oil, which is a nutritious ingredient, as something illicit. 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.” 

    Historically, the DEA has made persistent efforts to regulate hemp products. In 2001, DEA issued an Interpretive Rule attempting to ban all hemp seed and hempseed oil food products that contained even minuscule, insignificant amounts of residual THC. The HIA immediately filed suit to stop the enforcement of this rule, which resulted in what became known as the “Hemp Food Rules Challenge.”  Ultimately, the subsequent ruling made by the Ninth Circuit issued serendipitously on February 6, 2004, found that the DEA had not followed necessary scheduling procedures to add non-psychoactive hemp to the list of Schedule I controlled substances; and additionally, that Congress clearly did not intend that hemp be prohibited by the Controlled Substance Act when it adopted language from the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act to define the drug ‘marijuana.’ To read the full 2004 court opinion, please visit:

    In December of 2016, the DEA in conjunction with the North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA) indicated to Healthy Oilseeds, LLC that shipment of the company’s hemp products made from hemp grown under the state’s hemp pilot program and Congress’ Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Bill), would require a permit from the DEA, as the hemp protein powder and hempseed oil food items were subject to DEA regulation. Specifically, Healthy Oilseeds received communication from the NDDA stating that export of its hemp products to other states was prohibited, “because industrial hemp is a Schedule I controlled substance under the Federal Controlled Substances Act.” To view this correspondence between NDDA and Healthy Oilseeds LLC, please visit:

    DEA’s actions violate the clear Congressional intent of not only of the Farm Bill, which defines industrial hemp as distinct from ‘marijuana’ and legalizes its cultivation and processing under licensing programs in place in 31 states; but also further violate the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, which specifically prohibited federal authorities from using funds to obstruct the “transportation, processing, sale, or use of industrial hemp…within or outside the State in which the industrial hemp is grown or cultivated.” Hence, the DEA may not require lawfully licensed hemp farmers or manufacturers in the U.S. to register for a permit to engage in interstate commerce of industrial hemp products.  Indeed, by taking this action, the DEA is violating federal law, misusing taxpayer dollars, and thumbing its nose at Congress. 

    “Here in Kentucky, our Commissioner of Agriculture, Ryan Quarles, has built a successful pilot program that works closely with local law enforcement and is creating desperately needed economic opportunity for hundreds of farmers,” stated Bill Hilliard, CEO of Atalo Holdings, Inc.  “As states have wisely taken the initiative in this growing industry, the DEA doesn’t need to be interfering on our farms.”

    Joe Sandler, HIA’s lead counsel, further stated:  “Thirteen years ago DEA was told in no uncertain terms by the U.S. Court of Appeals that Congress had made its intent clear:  DEA has no power to regulate hemp seed and oil, and the hemp food and beverage products made from them.  It is disappointing that the industry has to revisit the issue, and take this step to compel DEA to obey the law.” 

    On January 13, 2017, the Hemp Industries Association, among other petitioners, filed a Petition for Review with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, to challenge the DEA’s recent effort to append Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act to include lawful hemp-derived non-psychoactive cannabinoids such as cannabinol, which the DEA has arbitrarily termed “Marijuana Extract.” In addition to this suit, and today’s actions taken to affirm the legality of hemp food products, the HIA does intend, in due course, to challenge the DEA’s repeated refusal to abide by other Congressional directives on industrial hemp. 

    #   #   #

    The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) represents the interests of the hemp industry and encourages the research and development of new hemp products.  More information about hemp’s many uses and hemp advocacy may be found at

  • 26 Jan 2017 1:25 PM | Erin Pully (Administrator)

    The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will hold its Spring 2017 Meeting in Denver, CO on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 - Friday, April 21, 2017. The NOSB typically meets twice per year in various locations around the United States. During meetings, the NOSB listens to public comments, discusses agenda items, and then votes in a public forum. Detailed meeting information including agendas, locations, recommendations, and public comments will be posted below as it becomes available. For information on previous meetings, visit the NOSB meetings page.

    For more information visit:

  • 19 Jan 2017 5:41 PM | Colleen Keahey (Administrator)

    Suit Seeks to Defend Hemp Farmers, U.S. Businesses and Consumers from Illegal Attempt to Schedule Non-Psychoactive Hemp Derivatives as ‘Marihuana Extract’

    The Hemp Industries Association (HIA), the leading non-profit trade association consisting of hundreds of hemp businesses, filed a Petition for Review on January 13, 2017, in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, seeking to block the implementation of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) recently announced Final Rule regarding “Marihuana Extract.” The proposed DEA Final Rule attempts to unlawfully designate hemp-derived non-psychoactive cannabinoids, including cannabidiol, as “marihuana extract,” and append the Controlled Substances Act to add all cannabinoids to its Schedule I. Furthermore, this action by the DEA contravenes clear Congressional intent and legal parameters for the production and consumption of hemp-derived products containing cannabinoids, enacted by Sec. 7606 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Bill).

    To read the full petition, please visit:

    The DEA does not have the authority to augment the Controlled Substances Act; that power resides with Congress. Congress has clearly mandated, through the 2014 Farm Bill and the 2016 Omnibus Spending Law that the Controlled Substances Act does not apply to hemp grown in state pilot programs, and that it is a violation of federal law for agencies such as DEA to interfere with these programs. The DEA’s proposed rule regarding cannabinoids thumbs its nose at Congress and threatens to undermine the market for legal hemp products containing cannabinoids, including those produced in the U.S. under state laws that regulate hemp cultivation and processing pursuant to, and in accordance with the federal Farm Bill. These products, such as hemp foods and supplements, fall outside the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and are not subject to regulatory control by the DEA.

    “Hemp-derived products containing cannabinoids are an increasingly in-demand category within the hemp market—and U.S. consumers constitute the largest market for hemp products worldwide,” said Colleen Keahey, Executive Director of the Hemp Industries Association. “We are committed to defending the rights of our members, of entrepreneurial hemp farmers, businesses and consumers, who all are acting entirely within the legal framework of the CSA and Farm Bill, including those adversely affected by trying to source American-grown hemp and hemp derivatives to supply this demand. The DEA’s attempt to regulate hemp derived products containing cannabinoids lawfully sourced under the CSA, and farmed and produced under the Farm Bill in states like Kentucky and Colorado, is not only outside the scope of their power, it’s an attempt to rob us of hemp’s economic opportunity.”

    The DEA has made previous attempts to interfere with legal hemp products, notably from 2001-2003 when the agency contended that hemp food products such as cereals, hemp seed and hemp oil, are a Schedule I substance due to trace insignificant residues of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. On February 6, 2004, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in response that hemp is not included in Schedule I; that the trace THC in such products is similar to trace opiates in poppy seed bagels, and does not render them controlled substances. The HIA believes this 2004 ruling sets strong legal precedent for the current petition, which asserts that cannabinoids derived from lawful portions and varieties of the Cannabis plant exempted from control under the CSA and through the Farm Bill, may not be regulated as “marihuana” or “marihuana extract” by the DEA.

    More recently, in 2014, the DEA interfered with the implementation of state pilot programs for hemp farming, when the agency unlawfully seized 250 lbs. of certified industrial hemp seed imported from Italy. The viable hemp seed had been legally sourced to supply six hemp research projects licensed by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and coordinated in conjunction with Kentucky State academic institutions. The seed was quickly released, following the filing of a lawsuit against the DEA on May 14, 2014 by then Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner, now U.S. Congressional Representative James Comer. 

    “Over a decade ago, the Ninth Circuit held that non-psychoactive hemp is not controlled by the CSA,” said Patrick Goggin, co-counsel for the HIA. “The DEA is again attempting to schedule under the CSA cannabinoids and non-psychoactive hemp beyond its authority. We believe the Ninth Circuit will invalidate this rule just like it did in 2004.”

    To date, 31 states have passed hemp legislation that allows their farmers to cultivate hemp according to guidelines set forth in the Farm Bill. Per these guidelines, U.S. farmers planted nearly 10,000 acres of hemp in 2016. Farmers and agri-business across the country have invested many millions of dollars in infrastructure to comply with federal law; this retroactive misreading of statute puts the livelihood of these law-abiding companies and individuals at risk.

    Recent DEA pronouncements indicate that DEA is threatening to flout prior court rulings, and assert regulatory authority over hemp seed, oil, and products made from hemp seed and oil, which have always been exempt from the Controlled Substances Act. HIA continues to monitor these developments, and will consider further actions to resist DEA’s unlawful attempts to regulate legal hemp products.

    # # #

    The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) represents the interests of the hemp industry and encourages the research and development of new hemp products. More information about hemp’s many uses and hemp advocacy may be found at

  • 16 Dec 2016 5:27 PM | Anonymous

    HIA Confirms Legality of CBD Produced from Hemp Per Farm Bill Guidelines

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Hemp Industries Association (HIA), the leading non-profit trade association consisting of hundreds of hemp businesses, has issued its position in response to a recent DEA ruling, submitted to the Federal Register December 14, 2016, which seeks to establish a new drug code for ‘marijuana extract.’ Specifically, the DEA has proposed that CBD, and all cannabinoids derived from Cannabis Sativa L. qualify as ‘marijuana extracts,’ and require separate, distinct identification and tracking by DEA agents than other forms of ‘marijuana.’ However, the DEA maintains the contradictory assertion that all CBD products are illegal as they constitute ‘marijuana’ per the Controlled Substances Act, and will therefore “continue to be treated as Schedule I substances.” To view the complete ruling, please visit:

    It is the position of the Hemp Industries Association that this Final Rule regarding ‘marijuana extracts’ is not within the jurisdiction of the DEA to enact, as the administration itself cannot amend or augment the definitions put forth in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Adding CBD products to the federal schedule of controlled substances would require new legislation to pass in Congress or action taken by the Attorney General, amending the CSA. Additionally, the ruling is based on an incorrect and incomplete understanding of how CBD is derived from the cannabis plant. While CBD may be derived from forms of cannabis that contain high amounts of THC, the cannabinoid associated with ‘marijuana,’ CBD may also be produced from industrial hemp plants that meet the legal standards of less than 0.3% THC by dry weight, and which may be cultivated in 32 states in the U.S. per Sec. 7606 of the Farm Bill, the Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research amendment. Hence, not all CBD products may be classified as extracts from ‘marijuana.’

    “It’s important to understand that this Final Rule does not change the legal status of hemp derived CBD,” said Eric Steenstra, Executive Director of the Hemp Industries Association. “Cannabidiol is not listed on the federal schedule of controlled substances, and the DEA has no authority whatsoever to impede the production, processing or sale of hemp products, including CBD products, grown under the Farm Bill. We urge consumers and businesses not to panic, and continue supporting the growth of the hemp industry in the U.S.”

    Generally, the HIA maintains that CBD products should be legally defined as supplements, not drugs or pharmaceuticals subject to DEA control. The CBD industry is one of the fastest growing sectors of the emerging hemp market in the U.S., and indeed worldwide. This DEA Final Rule is concerning to the industry, as it creates confusion in the marketplace among consumers and legitimate businesses alike, and may potentially result in federal agencies improperly treating legal products such as CBD oils, body balms and supplements as controlled substances. The Hemp Industries Association is monitoring this development closely, and is strongly considering legal action to protect the interests of its members and the hemp industry as a whole.

    # # #

    The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) represents the interests of the hemp industry and encourages the research and development of new hemp products. More information about hemp’s many uses and hemp advocacy may be found at and DVD Video News Release featuring footage of hemp farming in other countries is available upon request by contacting Lauren Stansbury at 402-540-1208 or

  • 15 Dec 2016 6:19 PM | Anonymous

    December 15, 2016

    Yesterday the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued a Final Rule on the coding of marijuana extracts. Unfortunately some misleading media stories and social media postings lead quite a few people to panic at reports that CBD was being banned under this new rule. 

    The Sky is NOT Falling. The Final Rule published by DEA did not change the legal status of CBD. This can only be done by a scheduling action which has NOT occurred. 

    HIA has carefully reviewed this with our legal advisors and discussed it with industry experts. While there are some differing opinions on the effect of the rule, there is general agreement that yesterday's ruling did not change the status of CBD. Here are some important facts to know:

    • Cannabidiol is not listed on the federal schedule of controlled substances
    • Sec. 7606 of the Farm Bill defines hemp as distinct from marijuana and does not treat it as a controlled substance when grown under a compliant state program
    • Despite these facts, DEA has stated that CBD is a controlled substance previously
    • HIA strongly disagrees with the DEA position and is ready to take action to defend should DEA take any action to block the production, processing or sale of hemp under Sec. 7606
    • The Final Rule published on December 14th was not a scheduling action but rather an administrative action related to record keeping
    • The code assigned to "marihuana extract" in the rule is "Administration Controlled Substances Code Number" for the purposes of identification of substances on registration forms 
    • The rule was originally published as a proposed rule in 2011 BEFORE the Farm Bill and didn't mention CBD or hemp
    • DEA confirmed to a reporter from the Denver Post that this was an administrative action and did not change the status of CBD in federal law

    So what does this all mean? We believe the DEA rule on "marihuana extracts" was not directed at hemp derived CBD products and has been in the works for 5 years. We also believe there is no imminent change in DEA policy regarding hemp derived CBD products. 

    For now, we want to urge everyone to calm down and continue with your businesses. We also hope that in future, reporters will take the time to get the facts before posting misleading stories about hemp and CBD. 

  • 24 Oct 2016 8:00 AM | Anonymous

    Conference’s Focus on CBDs, Expanding Market for Hemp and Innovative Technologies Underscores Rapid Growth of the Industry

    WASHINGTON, DC – Hemp Industries Association (HIA), a non-profit trade association consisting of hundreds of hemp businesses and farmers, hosted its 23rd annual conference during September 17 through September 20, 2016, in Westminster, Colorado just north of Denver. Attended by HIA business and farmer members, non-members, as well as national media and leading entrepreneurs and celebrity figures, the 2016 HIA conference was the most highly attended conference in the history of the HIA.  Speakers included Andrew Freedman, Colorado Director of Marijuana Coordination; Ethan Russo, MD, Medical Director of Phytecs; Alex White Plume of the Oglala Sioux; Jake Plummer, former NFL player for the Denver Broncos; and many others. Many attendees also enjoyed a hemp farm tour that visited the CBDRx, a hemp farm and processing facility in Longmont and a hemp research plot maintained by Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

    Presentations ranged from such topics as hemp home building methods, the role hemp can play in regenerative agriculture, challenges to hemp farming on Native American lands, law enforcement and local government’s role in regulating hemp farming, hemp plastics and innovative manufacturing practices, and certification and intellectual property of hemp products. A primary focus of the 23rd annual conference was on CBD, or cannabidiol products: the biological effect of CBD in the body, regulation and standards for CBD products, and new research involving CBD in the fields of health and medicine.

    Sheila Hemphill, of the Texas HIA state chapter, received the HIA Leadership Award.  Other award recipients include Barbara Filippone and Summer Star Haeske who both received the HIA Lifetime Achievement Award; Green Spring Technologies which received the HIA Innovation Award; New York Assembly Woman Donna Lupardo, who received the Vote Hemp Legislator of the Year Award; and McMillan Arrington, who received the Vote Hemp Activist of the Year Award.

    The success of the conference demonstrates both the growing interest in industrial hemp worldwide, as well as the leadership of the Hemp Industries Association. Founded in 1994, the HIA continues to grow in membership and expand its work to fulfill its mission of facilitating exchange of information between agriculturists, manufacturers, distributors and retailers; maintaining and defending the integrity of hemp products; advocating for socially and environmentally responsibly business practices; and educating the public about the benefits of industrial hemp. Exceeding $573 million in retail sales in 2015, according to SPINS data and HIA estimates, hemp products are demonstrating significant market growth. Currently, 32 states have defined industrial hemp as distinct from ‘marijuana’ and have removed barriers to its production.   

    ­­­­­­#  #  #

    The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) has served as the hemp industry trade association since 1994. The HIA has lead efforts to expand and protect the sale and marketing of hemp products including the important victory in HIA v. DEA which protected the hemp foods industry from extinction due to DEA over regulation. The HIA is the source for accurate hemp news and information and is often cited by the media as a key source on the fast growing hemp market. For more information, go to:

    To request an interview with an HIA spokesperson, receive media materials such as photos or video, please contact Hemp Industries Association Media Relations Director, Lauren Stansbury, at (402) 540-1208 or

  • 17 Aug 2016 9:29 AM | Anonymous

    WASHINGTON, DC – Monday, August 15, 2016, the Hemp Industries Association has issued a response to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Drug Administration’s joint “Statement of Principles on Industrial Hemp.” The response was issued as a “Memorandum for Hemp Industries Association Members” from Joseph Sandler and Patrick Goggin, HIA Legal Counsel.

    To read the USDA et al joint statement, see:

    To view the full response from the Hemp Industries Association, see:

    On August 12, 2016, the US Department of Agriculture, with the concurrence of the Drug Enforcement Administration and Food and Drug Administration, issued a joint “Statement of Principles on Industrial Hemp” in the Federal Register.  The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) is encouraged that, in this Statement, the USDA has acknowledged the legitimate role of hemp pilot programs in the 2014 Farm Bill and has specifically agreed to support hemp research. The HIA looks forward to working with the USDA to ensure that hemp pilot programs are supported by USDA similar to other crops including access to research funding, participation in USDA programs such as the National Organic Program and others.

    As a procedural matter, the agencies took the position that the Statement “does not establish any binding legal requirements” and it therefore is exempt from notice and comment rulemaking requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). While some of the positions taken are helpful to the industry, some other positions taken by the agencies in this document are highly detrimental to the industry and, in our view, are contrary to federal law. The USDA makes it clear in the Statement, however, that it is not intended as a binding rule and “does not establish any binding legal requirements.”

    Among other concerns, the HIA believes the joint statement purports to redefine the term “industrial hemp” in a manner wholly different from, and inconsistent with, the definition set out in the 2014 Farm Bill, as excerpted from the HIA’s response memo here:

    “The Statement’s definition is very troublesome, in two respects. First, the Statement’s definition would require that to be considered ‘industrial hemp,’ any part of the plant must be ‘used exclusively for industrial purposes (fiber and seed).’  That implies that the flowering tops of the plant would not be considered ‘industrial hemp,’ even though they clearly are so considered under the statutory definition. Second, the Statement defines ‘industrial hemp’ as having a ‘tetrahydrocannabinols’ (plural) concentration of not more than 0.3 percent, with the term ‘tetrahydrocannabinols’ to include ‘all isomers, acids, salts and salts of isomers ….’  This expanded definition could be read to require that cannabinoids other than THC—such as CBD—actually be considered in determining whether the 3/10 of one percent threshold has been exceeded—which would exclude much legitimate industrial hemp from the definition.”

    The HIA is also concerned about DEA’s attempt to limit the sales and transportation of hemp products, which are clearly allowed under Sec. 7606 of the Farm Bill and under federal law.

    The USDA has stated unequivocally that the Statement does not establish any new binding legal requirements. It is the position of the Hemp Industries Association that nothing in the Statement requires change to any current business practice, program or operation. If and when DEA indicates that is contemplating enforcement action, or threatens or takes enforcement action, based on any of the problematic legal positions described above, HIA will certainly take legal action at that time.  

    # # #

    The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) has served as the hemp industry trade association since 1994. The HIA has lead efforts to expand and protect the sale and marketing of hemp products including the important victory in HIA v. DEA which protected the hemp foods industry from extinction due to DEA over regulation. The HIA is the source for accurate hemp news and information and is often cited by the media as a key source on the fast growing hemp market. For more information, go to:

    To request an interview with an HIA spokesperson, receive media materials such as photos or video, please contact Hemp Industries Association Media Relations Director, Lauren Stansbury, at (402) 540-1208 or

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