Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., defended hemp farmers and businesses, authoring a brief to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the Hemp Industries Assn, et. al. v. D.E.A. case.
Hemp businesses and farmers filed the case after the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) instituted a rule that classifies hemp and its extracts as a Schedule I drug. Labeling hemp as a Schedule I drug directly contradicts the intent of Congress in the Farm Bill, in which Congress defines hemp as any part of the plant that contains “not more than 0.3 percent [THC].” It also jeopardizes a bipartisan, congressionally-established program that allows states the freedom to research and develop hemp without interference from the federal government. States, universities, and private industry have followed through and created a bourgeoning hemp industry that is estimated at $1 billion.
“It is a joke to classify hemp as a Schedule I drug. People don’t smoke hemp. They use it as paper, lotion, clothing, biofuel, and so much more,” said Polis. “The DEA needs to stop cracking down on the hemp ice cream we give our kids and get its priorities straight. Congress may not agree on much these days, but we did agree that states should be allowed to foster a hemp industry, free from federal interference, just like in the time of our founding fathers. The DEA has no choice but to follow Congress’s intent, and I am hopeful the courts will side with Congress and hemp farmers everywhere.”
Polis was praised by several hemp entrepreneurs for offering the court clarity on Congress’s intent.
“We applaud Congressman Polis for standing up for hundreds of small businesses and farmers in Colorado. He has been the hemp industry’s strongest advocate in D.C. and Colorado and if anyone understands Congress’s intent when they passed 7606 of the Farm Bill, it would be the man who carried the amendment.” said Colorado Hemp Industry Association President, Tim Gordon. “Colorado leads the nation in hemp cultivation and business and is bringing jobs back to Colorado, and it is important that it continue to be treated just like any other agricultural commodity. It only makes sense that because Colorado leads the nation in hemp, that Jared leads the charge for it on the Hill.”
Polis is the Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the bipartisan Cannabis Caucus. The Caucus serves as a forum for members of the U.S. House of Representatives to discuss, learn, and work together to establish a better and more rational approach to federal cannabis policy, including hemp. Last year, he reintroduced the Industrial Hemp Farming Act which would remove hemp from the Controlled Substances Act. He also introduced The Industrial Hemp Water Rights Act, legislation to ensure farmers can use their water rights to grow industrial hemp in states where industrial hemp cultivation is allowed.
The court will begin hearing arguments on Feb. 15.
Source: Congressman Jared Polis’ office