The Drug Enforcement Administration regarded Anthony L. Armour as a “outstanding” special agent who was leading the front lines of the nation’s fight against the opioid crisis. But in 2019, he failed a regular drug test, which ended his career.Mr. Armour said he had begun using CBD oil, derived from hemp, months earlier to treat chronic pain because he believed it to be less harmful than the extremely addictive medicines he was looking into for his criminal cases.
After failing a drug test, he was sacked by the government, which led to a drawn-out court battle that brought to light the difficulties facing the quickly growing and mostly unregulated CBD sector. Last week, Mr. Armour won his lawsuit. In an unprecedented move, the Department of Justice agreed to reimburse him for his legal costs, rehire him as a special agent, provide him with some back pay, and allow him to continue receiving his pension.
Joining the agency in 2004, Mr. Armour, 49, will be returning to its Houston headquarters on Monday. He expressed his excitement about working at D.E.A. again. As I finish off my employment there, I want to help the D.E.A. achieve its goal of getting dangerous drugs like fentanyl off the streets.Unbeknownst to the public, Mr. Armour and the Department of Justice have struck a settlement in court that aligns with a comprehensive reassessment of the potential hazards and therapeutic advantages of cannabis.
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The Biden Administration Reevaluates Cannabis Laws in Light of Possible Medical Advantages
The Biden administration is reassessing cannabis’s legal and regulatory status, according to recently made public documents, in light of a federal scientists’ assessment that concluded the plant’s therapeutic potential justifies removing it from the most restrictive class of medications.Since 24 states have legalised cannabis for recreational use and 38 have legalised it for medical use, the drug’s use has skyrocketed in the US in recent years.
When Congress approved the Farm Bill in 2018, it marked a dramatic shift in the previously permissive climate by legalising CBD. Goods containing CBD and less than 0.3 percent THC (marijuana’s psychoactive component) were allowed.Experts from the World Health Organisation described CBD as a generally safe and promising drug in a June 2018 paper.In recent years, CBD has become a multibillion dollar industry, providing relief to those suffering from chronic pain, anxiety, addiction, and insomnia. Oral tinctures, candy, carbonated beverages, bath salts, massage oil, coffee, makeup, and even dog treats include it.
Due to legal complexities, a DEA agent who uses CBD may face penalties.
As its renown grew, challenging issues surfaced. CBD was prohibited in certain states even after it was legalised by federal law, which left owners of CBD businesses in legal hot water. In 2020, the Food and Drug Administration found that some products sold as CBD included more THC than trace amounts. Some buyers had previously realised how unreliable the labels on CBD products were when they began failing drug tests.Among them was Mr. Armour, who has struggled with chronic pain for many years. He has stated that during his time playing college football and at employment, he suffered injuries such as a severe neck sprain and painful
After the 2016 crash, Mr. Armour said he considered using legally prescribed painkillers, but he changed his mind after seeing the dangers of opioid addiction firsthand. In the beginning of 2019, he ordered an oral CBD tincture and a vaporizer online from a reputable merchant. Mr. Armour stated there was no reason to believe he was taking a chance because the products helped him feel better.A few months later, when a normal drug test revealed he had been using marijuana, he informed supervisors he had been taking CBD and turned over the evidence to investigators. Less than 0.3 percent THC was found in two of the lab-tested samples, although 0.35% was found in one, which was within
DEA Issues CBD Warning and Gets Backlash for Agent Termination
Documents show that shortly after, a D.E.A. official in Houston warned employees about CBD products, claiming that drug tests could not reliably distinguish between CBD and regular marijuana.Employees received an email from the official, Will R. Glaspy, asking them to “please don’t create problems for yourself by using this snake oil.”In a wrongful termination lawsuit, Matthew C. Zorn, the attorney for Mr. Armour, argued that his client had not intentionally used marijuana, that the D.E.A. did not have any explicit policies prohibiting employees from using CBD, and that the termination was an overly harsh penalty.
According to Mr. Zorn, “Anthony’s case serves as a reminder that cannabis laws don’t always make sense and can be counterproductive.”In a court filing, the Department of Justice acknowledged there was insufficient evidence to conclude that Mr. Armour had breached the law on purpose. However, the government said that Mr. Armour should have known that using CBD may lead to a positive drug test.