Hemp has had a complicated legal status in the U.S. Is Hemp is Legal? ever since the country started its drug war. Too often this incredibly useful plant gets negatively associated with psychoactive marijuana, causing a patchwork of laws and regulations about the cultivation, On February 6, 2004, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a unanimous decision in favor of the HIA in which Judge Betty Fletcher wrote, “[T]hey (DEA) cannot regulate naturally-occurring THC not contained within or derived from marijuana-i.e. non-psychoactive hemp is not included in Schedule I. The DEA has no authority to regulate drugs that are not scheduled, and it has not followed procedures required to schedule a substance. The DEA’s definition of “THC” contravenes the unambiguously expressed intent of Congress in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and cannot be upheld”. processing, and sale of hemp in the U.S.After the DEA announced in 2001 that, going forward, hemp intended for food use would be illegal, the HIA successfully sued the DEA to stop the rule from taking effect. In 2003, the DEA attempted to again prohibit the production and sale of hemp-based foods. Like just a few years before, the HIA sued to stay the regulations.