New Hampshire Hemp Council, Inc. v. Marshall

203 F.3d 1 (2000)

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New Hampshire Hemp Council, Inc. v. Marshall

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
203 F.3d 1 (2000)

  • Written by Patrick Speice, JD

Facts

The New Hampshire Hemp Council and a New Hampshire legislator, Derek Owen (collectively, the hemp advocates) (plaintiffs), wished to grow hemp plants to manufacture industrial products from fibers derived from the plants’ stalks. Industrial hemp plants were one strain of the plant species Cannabis sativa. Other Cannabis sativa strains with higher levels of the psychoactive substance tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) were grown so that their flowers and leaves could be used as the illegal drug marijuana. The hemp advocates filed suit in federal district court against the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator Donnie Marshall (defendant), seeking a declaration that—contrary to the DEA’s position—Cannabis sativa plants grown for industrial purposes must not be considered marijuana under federal law, and therefore, growing such plants was not unlawful under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The hemp advocates argued that they were deterred from growing industrial hemp plants by the DEA’s position, which was inconsistent with Congress’s intent to only prohibit growing Cannabis sativa with high levels of THC in the CSA. The district court dismissed the hemp advocates’ suit, and the hemp advocates appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Boudin, J.)

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