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420 with CNW — DEA Settles Lawsuit, Agrees to Rehire Agent Fired for Positive CBD Test

Cannabis News Wire, Media Partners

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The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently rehired an agent that was fired almost five years ago after the agent tested positive for tetrahydrocannabinol during a drug screening. Anthony Armour, the agent in question, was terminated in 2019 by the federal agency.

In 2023, Armour filed a suit against the agency in the Federal Circuit’s Court of Appeals, arguing that the DEA had no grounds to fire him without any evidence that he’d intended to break the law. In his suit, Armour asserted that he was using what he thought to be a hemp product that was federally legal as an alternative to opioids to manage chronic pain.

His attorney, Matt Zorn, also argued that the DEA had no policy on CBD at the time of his client’s termination, which came roughly one year after the 2018 Farm Bill federally legalized hemp and its derivatives. It should be noted that in 2021, the DEA did revise its policy for job applicants, including a section inquiring about prior use of CBD and hemp before federal legalization in its questionnaire.

Last week, the court process ended in Armour’s favor, with the agency agreeing to reinstate him with restored pension eligibility as well as back pay. The Department of Justice, through the lawsuit, acknowledged that during his tenure, the plaintiff was an outstanding agent. The department then highlighted that despite this, his careless conduct in CBD consumption did justify his firing by the DEA.

In an interview, Armour stated that he was excited to return to work at the federal agency and hoped to finish his career by aiding the DEA in its mission to remove dangerous drugs from the streets. He also hopes that marijuana will be legalized, given scientific evidence that supports the drug’s legalization.

In an interview last year, Armour revealed that he was in favor of marijuana legalization.

This settlement agreement comes just as the DEA concludes a review into the scheduling of cannabis under a directive issued by President Joseph Biden in 2022. While the Department of Health and Human Services did recommend that marijuana be moved to Schedule III, the DEA has yet to give its final decision on the matter.

The issue on classification was brought up in Armour’s case, with the primary query being whether marijuana rescheduling would prevent the Drug and Enforcement Administration from enforcing its employment penalty.

The agency still defines an illegal substance as any drug under Schedule I or II of the Controlled Substances Act that cannot be prescribed.

As the scheduling review process nears its end, cannabis companies such as Tilray Brands Inc. (NASDAQ: TLRY) (TSX: TLRY) will be hoping for an outcome that eases many of the hoops that they have been compelled to jump through in order to operate their state-legal businesses within the broader federal regulations, which aren’t so accommodating.

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