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Duane Morris and American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp Defend the Lawful Transportation of Hemp Across State Lines in Brief Submitted to Ninth Circuit

April 17, 2019

Duane Morris and ATACH

PHILADELPHIA, April 17, 2019 ─ The American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp (ATACH), announces it has moved to file an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief on behalf of Big Sky Scientific, a Colorado-based CBD company whose hemp shipment was seized by the Idaho police and the truck driver arrested. The legal issue concerns whether, in light of the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, a hemp cultivator in one state may lawfully ship cultivated hemp to a processor in another state.

An Idaho federal court denied Blue Sky’s motion for preliminary injunction and the matter is in the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The brief was prepared by ATACH’s national law firm partner, Duane Morris LLP.

The outcome of this case is not only significant to the operations of Blue Sky, but it could also affect the legal cannabis and hemp industry as a whole. The case could create a national precedent for the interstate shipment of hemp while the Department of Agriculture and various states create their regulations.

“The 2018 Farm Bill removed industrial hemp and hemp products from the Controlled Substances Act, effectively reclassifying hemp from a narcotic to an agriculture commodity and permitting interstate commerce. If the courts rule against Blue Sky, it would threaten the entire industry, and any such decision would directly contravene the will of Congress and the president when they signed the bill into law,” said Michael Bronstein, president of ATACH. “The court is being watched closely as this case has broader policy interpretations surrounding the legalization of commercial hemp and the transportation and sale of products in the post-2018 Farm Bill era.”

In the amicus brief, Duane Morris argues:

In denying Big Sky’s motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, the lower court improperly concluded that the 2018 Farm Bill’s prohibition against state interference with the shipment of hemp is not effective until the United States Department of Agriculture promulgates regulations and approves state hemp programs. The interstate commerce provision contains no such limitation and must be read in conjunction with the section of the new law grandfathering in the existing program.                               

ATACH has a vested interest in the outcome of this case as it has members in the states represented by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in addition to formal working agreements with major state-level cannabis associations that represent the region including: Montana Cannabis Industry Association, Washington CannaBusiness Association, Alaska Marijuana Industry Association, Western Regional Cannabis Business Alliance, Oregon Cannabis Business Council and Washington's Cannabis Organization of Retail Establishments.

The lead attorney for Duane Morris is partner David Landau. Duane Morris partner Seth Goldberg and associate Joseph Pangaro also worked on the brief.

“The act as written by Congress in the 2018 Farm Bill and signed into law by the president clearly intends unfettered supply chain logistics for legal hemp,” said Landau. “That includes transporting hemp grown at a facility in one state that may be required to be sent to a factory in another state that has the capacity and technology required to process the raw materials into finished, legal products.”

Read the full brief.

About Duane Morris

Duane Morris LLP provides innovative solutions to today’s multifaceted legal and business challenges through the collegial and collaborative culture of its more than 800 attorneys in offices across the United States and internationally. The firm represents a broad array of clients, spanning all major practices and industries.

About ATACH

The American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp is the leading 501(c)(6) trade organization dedicated to promoting the expansion and protection of legal sales of cannabis and hemp for industrial, medical, and recreational use. In 2017, ATACH was named “Trade Association of the Year” by Campaigns & Elections. In 2016, ATACH was named “Corporate Grassroots Organization of the Year” by Campaigns & Elections magazine for its representation of the leading national industry players, its role in state level legalization campaigns, the first ever industry event held at a national presidential nominating convention, and its historic agreement with ASTM International to develop standards for the industry. ATACH promotes the protection and expansion of the cannabis industry by providing credible representation to the cannabis industry.