Hemp Legal Defense Fund

A collaborative effort of the hemp industry to protect our mutual legal interest by supporting important actions defending the legal status of hemp guaranteed by the 2018 Farm Bill.

Hemp Industries Association & RE Botanicals, Inc. v DEA

The hemp industry challenges the DEA’s interim final rule entitled “Implementation of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018”.

On Monday October 12, 2020, the hemp industry united and filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, alleging that U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is unlawfully attempting to regulate certain products derived from lawful hemp by misinterpreting the 2018 Farm Bill. Specifically, DEA classifies intermediary hemp material (IHM) and waste hemp material (WHM), two necessary and inevitable byproducts of hemp processing, as Schedule I controlled substances. This lawsuit was brought on behalf of Hemp Industries Association and RE Botanicals, Inc. (“Plaintiffs”). Plaintiffs argue that Congress deliberately removed such commercial hemp activity from DEA's jurisdiction when Congress legalized hemp production, including hemp processing, via the 2018 Farm Bill.

In September, Plaintiffs also filed a filed a petition for review in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit asking the court to review and set aside the interim final rule (IFR) issued by DEA in August.

What will my donation get me?

Donations to the fund will go toward the legal defense of the U.S. hemp industry. Donations, however, do not entitle anyone to receive confidential information about on-going litigation or case strategy. A donation does not establish the attorney-client relationship nor entitle anyone to interfere with, or otherwise exert control over, any HLDF’s attorney’s work.

What is HLDF?

The Hemp Legal Defense Fund is a nonprofit organization organized to raise funds for any legal actions useful to protect and support the United States hemp industry by challenging statutes, regulations, or other legal actions that endanger the legal hemp industry guaranteed by the 2018 Farm Bill, or the economic health or liberty of the industry. Legal actions may include challenges to unlawful exercises of government authority or government acts that violate the plain language and purpose of federal and state hemp laws.

HLDF serves to provide cost efficient management for the legal defense of the hemp industry. Consequently, HLDF embraces transparency to its donors and the clients directly served by any legal efforts it funds.

What legal actions will HLDF fund?

HLDF will help challenge laws or regulations that are damaging to the United States hemp industry and legally unsound. Application for funding is approved by the fund’s board, depending on the level of assistance sought and purpose of the legal action.

To date, all HLDF funds will go towards supporting the pair of legal actions filed by the hemp industry (described above) - Hemp Industries Association and RE Botanicals, Inc. v DEA. The legal actions filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenge DEA’s unlawful efforts to regulate key steps of the hemp production process. Donations to the link above will go toward paying the litigation costs of this effort to protect the U.S. hemp industry.

How is HLDF and its efforts governed?

HLDF has a board comprised of hemp attorneys who have clients who wanted to contribute to an effort like HLDF with appropriate oversight and efficiencies. Funds raised will only be dispersed when the board agrees to do so and only for projects the board has previously agreed serve HLDFs goals. Donors and partner organizations will have access to records of expenditures to ensure effective use of funds. Any strategic partnerships with other organizations will be governed by memorandums of understanding documenting shared goals, obligations, and oversight mechanisms.

How else will HLDF funds be spent?

A small portion of funds raised will be spend on administrative costs (website, accounting, and communication). All donations are non-refundable. Any funds remaining at the conclusion of the current legal challenges, Hemp Industries Association and RE Botanicals, Inc. v DEA will be reserved for future actions consistent with the HLDF’s mission and as approved by the board.

All requests for funding will be weighed by HLDF with special consideration for activities that will affect the most far-reaching and positive outcomes.