DEA and Other Federal Agencies Versus Congress and the States Regarding Hemp Production
"In response to DEA actions to block seeds imported by some states in order to grow industrial hemp and to avoid future similar DEA actions to stall full implementation of the hemp provision of the farm bill, Congress acted swiftly. Both the House and Senate FY2015 Commerce-JusticeScience (CJS) appropriations bills contained provisions to block federal law enforcement authorities from interfering with state agencies and hemp growers and counter efforts to obstruct agricultural research. The enacted FY2015 appropriation blocked federal law enforcement authorities from interfering with state agencies, hemp growers, and agricultural research.46 The provision stated that 'none of the funds made available' to the U.S. Justice Department and DEA 'may be used in contravention' of the 2014 farm bill.
"Similar language was contained in the enacted FY2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act, wherein Congress blocked DEA and other federal law enforcement authorities from interfering with state agencies, hemp growers, and agricultural research.47 In addition, USDA was also blocked from prohibiting the transportation, processing, sale, or use of industrial hemp that is grown or cultivated in accordance with the 2014 farm bill provision.48 Legislation debating the FY2017 budget also contained similar restrictions.49
"During both the FY2015 and FY2016 appropriations debates, the House CJS bills also included provisions that no funds be used to prevent a state from implementing its own state laws that 'authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of industrial hemp' as defined in the 2014 farm bill.50 These provisions were not adopted.
"In addition, as part of the FY2017 appropriations debate, the Senate committee report urged USDA 'to clarify the Agency’s authority to award Federal funds to research projects deemed compliant with Section 7606 of the Agricultural Act of 2014.'51 The latter provision addresses questions by a number of state and private research institutions about the extent to which industrial hemp initiatives might be eligible for U.S. federal grant programs (both USDA and non-USDA program funds). Previously, in November 2015, several Members of Congress sent a letter to USDA requesting clarification of the agency’s research funds for industrial hemp.52"
Johnson, Renée, "Hemp As An Agricultural Commodity," Congressional Research Service (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, March 10, 2017), p. 14.