ATACH Uses “Reefer Madness” Fear Mongering in Court Filing Against Hemp Industry

ATACH, a MARIJUANA lobbying group, maligns the hemp industry in a federal court brief.

In a legal brief to the US Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, the American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp (ATACH), uses “Reefer Madness” fear mongering in an attempt to overturn the hemp industry’s recent victory in Arkansas.

Despite the plain language of the 2018 Farm Bill and the conclusions reached by several federal courts, including the federal District Court in the Arkansas case, ATACH disputes the fact that “Congress legalized all ‘downstream products and substances’ made from hemp… if their Delta-9 THC concentration does not exceed the statutory threshold of 0.3 percent.

Additionally, in its brief ATACH misstates the 2018 Farm Bill’s statutory language by asserting, “the 2018 Farm Bill plainly allows states to continue regulating the production and sale of hemp derivatives within their borders.” The blatant misrepresentation by ATACH is its insertion of the phrase “and sale” into its brief. That phrase does not occur in the statute. In fact, the statute only says that state laws regarding “production” preempt federal law, not the “sale” of hemp products. “Production” is a legal term of art solely referring to hemp cultivation, an issue I discuss at length in an article you can read here

In addition to the above, the ATACH legal brief goes on to present bogus science, twist the meaning of words outside of their normal usage, falsely claim that the hemp industry is unregulated, and even cite its own propaganda pieces in support of the claims it makes. Throughout its brief, ATACH rehashes in modern terms the same fear-based, “sky is falling”, “cannabis intoxication is bad” claims that cannabis prohibitionists have been making for almost a century.

This legal brief is not the only place where ATACH has maligned the hemp industry. Its website is full of attacks on the hemp industry. It even has an entire section of its website, complete with highly produced YouTube videos, devoted to “Hemp Intoxicants”. Additionally, ATACH recently sent a letter to Congress, stating: “We are writing to you today to highlight the significant crisis caused by unregulated intoxicating hemp products and the 2018 Farm Bill. As you and your staff approach the final stages of drafting the 2023 Farm Bill, we urge you to address the statutory loopholes which have allowed unregulated intoxicating hemp products to proliferate across the U.S.(emphasis added)

Though it is long and difficult to stomach at times, particularly from an organization with “hemp” in its name, I recommend reading the entire brief, below. This is because it is important to understand what ATACH is saying to federal and state lawmakers and judges about hemp and hemp products. Corporate marijuana monopolists and their lobbying organizations, including ATACH, are desperately attempting to close off competition under the guise of protecting consumers. But, as I’ve discussed before the hemp industry supports reasonable regulations regarding age gating, product safety, and labeling. The real issue is not safety, but rather the attempt by a small group of corporate interests to control a valuable and emerging cannabis market that should belong to everyone.

Here is the legal brief: 

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December 6, 2023

Rod Kight, Cannabis industry attorney

Rod Kight is an international cannabis lawyer. He represents businesses throughout the cannabis industry. Additionally, Rod speaks at cannabis conferences, drafts and presents legislation to foreign governments, is regularly quoted on cannabis matters in the media, and is the editor of the Kight on Cannabis legal blog, which discusses legal issues affecting the cannabis industry. You can contact him by clicking here


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