Day Pitney LLP, working with Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP, submitted an amicus curiae brief as pro bono counsel for 28 members of the U.S. Congress, in support of a legal challenge to a 2016 Administrative Rule issued by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that established that all extracts from the plant Cannabis sativa L., including industrial hemp extracts, are illegal under federal law.
The brief filed yesterday in a matter pending before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Hemp Industries Association v. Drug Enforcement Administration, supports Hemp Industries' argument that the DEA's rule is contrary to, and subverts, the Agricultural Act of 2014, commonly known as the Farm Bill, which carved out certain legal exceptions for the growth, cultivation and marketing of industrial hemp. The amicus argues that in passing the Farm Bill, Congress made clear "that industrial hemp and any derivatives, extracts, and uses thereof would be exempted from the definition of 'marijuana' under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA)."
The amicus asks the court to find that the DEA's position that industrial hemp extracts "will continue to be treated as Schedule I controlled substances" was an abuse of the DEA's administrative procedure and rulemaking authority.
The amicus was drafted on behalf of certain current members of Congress who crafted the "Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research" section of the Agricultural Act of 2014 and who were also similarly involved in the inclusion of the industrial hemp provisions in the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015 and the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016. In passing these laws, Congress sought to clearly establish rules that both the Executive Branch and the individual states must follow in order to research the viability of industrial hemp as an agricultural crop, as the laws took steps to authorize state pilot programs to study the cultivation and market for industrial hemp. Based on their experiences, these members of Congress are familiar with the laws enacted and the underlying legislative process, and have an interest in courts construing the industrial hemp laws in accordance with their text and legislative purpose. The brief is intended to inform the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals of the views of these members of Congress. A copy of the brief as filed can be found here.
"It is rare that members of Congress submit amici briefs, and even rarer to submit such a brief in a context such as agricultural and controlled substance policy. Day Pitney was honored to provide pro bono counsel to members of Congress and to assist in helping the Court address these complex issues, fully informed by the perspective of legislators who participated in drafting and passing the laws at issue," said Steven A. Cash of Day Pitney, one of the brief's authors. He continued, "the importance of this issue cannot be understated. The DEA's administrative rules at the center of this case are incompatible with legislation that defines industrial hemp as distinct from 'marijuana' and legalizes its cultivation and processing under licensing programs in place in 31 states. This case challenges these actions of the DEA."
In addition to Cash, counsel in Day Pitney's Washington, D.C. and New York offices, James P. Carlon, a partner in the firm's Stamford Office, led the effort on the brief and associates Ryan S. Osterweil, James B. Blackburn IV, Alex P. Garens and Gemma R. Cashman were instrumental in researching and drafting. Day Pitney lawyers worked closely with Adrian Snead, Esq. of the law firm Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP.
On January 20, Jim Rotondo spoke at the PLAC webinar, "The Future of CBD Law: 2021 and Beyond."
On April 16, Steven Cash will participate in a virtual Spy Chat with Chris Costa, Executive Director of the Spy Museum.
The New York Law Journal and Law.com published a commentary written by DC counsel Steven Cash, who co-leads the firm's Regulated Substance Practices Group.
On February 16, at the American Bar Association (ABA) midyear meeting, the ABA House of Delegates adopted Resolution 103B, co-authored by Steven Cash, urging federal legislation to protect lawyers from criminal liability for providing services to state-legalized marijuana businesses.
Steven Cash, co-chair of Day Pitney's Regulated Substances practice group, co-authored a resolution for the American Bar Association (ABA), Tort Trial and Insurance Section, urging Congress "to enact legislation to clarify and explicitly ensure that it shall not constitute a federal crime for lawyers, consistent with state, territorial, and tribal ethical rules, to provide legal advice and services to clients regarding marijuana-related activities that are in compliance with state, territorial, and tribal law."
Stan Twardy was quoted in the New York Times article, "Top Aid in Review of Russia Inquiry Resigns From Justice Dept."
Stan Twardy was quoted in CT Post article, "Arrests of Perez, Dunn raise concern that FBI probe is just the beginning."
Stan Twardy authored an op-ed, "The Myths of Vote-By-Mail," published in the Connecticut Post, Danbury News-Times and USA Today.
Steven Cash is featured in a Q&A article, "Cannabis Corner: An Ex-Prosecutor Keeps Firm's Risk At Bay," published by Law360.
Ryan Osterweil was quoted in an article, "'It Isn't Illegal If It Doesn't Exist yet': Patent Laws Pose Challenges for the Cannabis Industry," which was published by Cannabis Wire and reports on a recent New York City Bar Association program where he served as a panelist.