Updated: Jan 16, 2019
A new rule issued in a statement by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has raised quite a few concerns amongst the hemp industry, particularly concerning its impact on those involved in the production of CBD (Cannabidiol) – or what is referred to in the rule as “marihuana extract.” Click here to download PDF version of the DEA rule.
Despite trending headlines from top news outlets claiming CBD is now illegal (see references below) we want to share several sentiments that suggest otherwise. In fact, top legal advisors for the hemp industry are reassuring us that this interpretation is vastly inaccurate, and that the final rule published by the DEA DID NOT change the legal status of CBD.
The Hemp Industries Association responded to this statement suggesting that the DEA rule on “marihuana extracts” was not directed at hemp derived CBD products and has been in the works for five years. In a constant contact e-blast, the organization included the following information for reference and reassurance:
Cannabidiol is not listed on the federal schedule of controlled substances.
Sec. 7606 of the Farm Bill defines hemp as distinct from marijuana and does not treat it as a controlled substance when grown under a compliant state program.
Despite these facts, DEA has stated that CBD is a controlled substance previously.
HIA strongly disagrees with the DEA position and is ready to take action to defend should DEA take any action to block the production, processing or sale of hemp under Sec. 7606.
The Final Rule published on December 14th was not a scheduling action but rather an administrative action related to record keeping.
The code assigned to "marihuana extract" in the rule is "Administration Controlled Substances Code Number" for the purposes of identification of substances on registration forms.
The rule was originally published as a proposed rule in 2011 BEFORE the Farm Bill and didn't mention CBD or hemp.
DEA confirmed to a reporter from the Denver Post that this was an administrative action and did not change the status of CBD in federal law.
While the HIA believes there is no imminent change in DEA policy regarding hemp derived CBD products, the memo still warns that this rule could lead to some series issues regarding the DEA’s addition of unscheduled substances to the Administration Controlled Substances Code List, and the potential mistreatment by federal agencies.
Jonathan S. Miller, industry advisor and attorney at law, echoed these opinions in a similar brief adding these points and insights:
Top aides to some of hemp’s most powerful congressional champions have been consulting with DEA, and their preliminary read is that the rule is ministerial in nature: DEA tells them that by introducing a new code into the registry, DEA can better track what’s being done and help the U.S. comply with UN-tracking standards.
DEA cannot make or change the law. That is Congress’ function.
Federal law – via the 2014 Farm Bill and 2016 Omnibus Law – emphatically mandates that industrial hemp grown as part of state-sanctioned pilot programs is exempted from the Controlled Substances Act, and that federal agencies (such as the DEA) are prohibited from interfering with pilot programs and/or the interstate sale or transport of hemp products that are produced in pilot programs.
For decades, federal law (as confirmed by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals) has permitted the import and U.S. sale of foreign-grown hemp products.
Based on these opinions, we think it’s safe to say that CBD is here to stay! Keep calm, and grow on. If anything, we hope this issue brings more awareness to the ridiculous outlaw of industrial hemp, and garners more support for the Industrial Hemp Farming Act!
In the meantime, if you’re wanted to make sure CBD sticks around for good – try it out, and see how it works for you! Check out Bluebird Botanicals for high-quality hemp extracts, along with valuable information about CBD and how it could potentially be helpful for you. Click here to learn more!
Recent articles claiming that CBD is now illegal:
Photo by Kentucky Hempsters taken at Elite Botanicals in Loveland, Colorado - October 2015