Hemp and marijuana are one and the same, at least under the broad brush of the Controlled Substance Act. When Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded five Obama administration memoranda on Jan. 4, related to marijuana prosecution guidelines, the industrial hemp industry took note of the implications to federal non-interference practices.
In a statement released Jan. 11, in response to Sessions’ actions, the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) emphasized that hemp farming programs remain legal: “…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.”
“This rescission stands to impact important business relationships that exist between industrial hemp brands and hemp product manufacturers, and the legal retail marijuana market,” says Colleen Keahey, executive director of HIA.
“If anything, the threat by the Department of Justice to crack down on state-legal 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,” adds Joy Beckerman, HIA board vice president.