Hemp growers sue Alaska agriculture officers in try to maintain hemp merchandise authorized

A coalition of hemp growers and producers has sued the Alaska Division of Pure Assets, claiming that new limits on intoxicating hemp merchandise are unconstitutional.

The lawsuit, by the Alaska Industrial Hemp Affiliation and 4 companies, was filed Thursday in U.S. District Courtroom in Anchorage.

Lawyer Christopher Hoke, representing the plaintiffs, stated the foundations imply that nearly each hemp-derived product made within the state and on the market right here — drinks, gummies, cookies and extra — will turn out to be unlawful.

“We’re simply harming our personal right here,” he stated. 

He has requested a brief restraining order to maintain the ban from coming into impact whereas the lawsuit proceeds. 

“We’ve requested for expedited consideration,” Hoke stated.

The DNR, its commissioner, the state director of agriculture and Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom have been named within the lawsuit however haven’t but filed a preliminary response to the criticism.

The lawsuit stems from a regulation permitted in October by Dahlstrom on the behest of the DNR. 

The regulation, which took impact Friday, states partially that DNR might not approve “an industrial hemp product that incorporates delta-9-THC.”

Alaska’s marijuana trade is tightly regulated, with limits on who might purchase merchandise that comprise THC — the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana — and the way a lot THC these merchandise might comprise.

Till Friday, these limits largely didn’t exist in Alaska for merchandise that comprise delta-9-THC derived from hemp. In 2018, Congress handed — and President Donald Trump signed — a farm invoice that said {that a} hemp product may comprise not more than 0.3% delta-9-THC by weight.

Some hemp producers imagine that restrict applies to a completed product, not a plant, and have been promoting meals and drinks with massive quantities of delta-9.

These merchandise could be bought with out an age restrict and at companies that aren’t licensed to promote marijuana, making them extensively obtainable.

Congress hasn’t supplied extra steerage on the regulation, so a number of states have jumped into the difficulty, passing legal guidelines or writing laws to make clear their stance.

Alaska’s advisory job pressure on marijuana points, commissioned by Gov. Mike Dunleavy, made the delta-9 subject a prime precedence, and the state’s marijuana commerce group backed off a push for laws right here after state agriculture officers stated they’d handle it by regulation.

In October, when Dahlstrom signed the brand new regulation, officers stated it might forestall adverse well being penalties for younger Alaskans.

Members of the hemp trade fired again, saying that their merchandise are not any completely different than these bought by the authorized marijuana trade, and so they accused officers of improperly collaborating with the marijuana trade to profit that sector.

Dan Ferguson, proprietor of a serious Anchorage hemp enterprise, informed KTUU-TV in Anchorage that the brand new regulation is “successfully a kill shot from the hashish trade to the hemp trade” in Alaska. 

He and different hemp companies say they’ve now been left with hundreds of thousands of {dollars} in merchandise that they can not legally promote in Alaska.

“It looks as if they need to outright prohibit any hemp merchandise whereas they permit the marijuana-producing firms to supply merchandise which can be precisely the identical,” Hoke stated.

Within the criticism, he argues that the brand new guidelines are a violation of the U.S. Structure’s commerce clause.

“All hemp is federally lawful to own, and hemp that matches the federal definition will not be interfered with because it flows by interstate commerce,” the criticism stated. 

The case has been assigned to Decide Sharon Gleason. No schedule has but been set for written arguments on the restraining order.

“I feel this could fall our approach,” Hoke stated.