The agent claimed he frequently used CBD for pain management, which contributed to the levels of THC found in a urinalysis.
On May 19, 2023, former DEA Special Agent Anthony Armour filed a lawsuit against the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) claiming wrongful termination over a positive THC test result (1). Armour, a 15-year DEA veteran, had worked fighting the opioid epidemic for several years when a random drug test in 2019 revealed over-the-limit levels of THC, causing his termination with a charge of drug possession or use (1).
Armour explained that after over-the-counter medications had failed to help mange his pain caused injuries from his football and police officer careers, he turned to hemp-based cannabidiol (CBD), since it had recently been legalized through the Farm Bill in 2018 (2). At that time, the lawsuit claimed, the DEA did not have regulations or warnings relating to employee use of CBD in relation to drug screenings, and only established these regulations during the investigation of Armour (1,2).
The lawsuit stated that the ruling from the DEA Board of Conduct should be overturned for several reasons including a lack of evidence establishing Armour’s CBD use as illegal or that he knowingly and intentionally purchased and used a controlled substance (2). “Everyone, including the DEA, agrees that the urinalysis test cannot distinguish between THC consumed from legal hemp versus marijuana,” the lawsuit noted (2).
In its conclusion, the lawsuit argued that Armour should be reinstated as Special Agent with back pay, benefits, and seniority (2). The lawsuit is now before the US court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (2).
For more information on regulatory oversight in the CBD market, read our blog on the topic.