The DEA, on December 14th, issued what is called a Final Rule on marijuana extracts. The Final Rule, in fact, did not change the legal status of CBD whether derived from Marijuana or Hemp. This Final Rule is mainly for in-house administrative purposes for the DEA and NOT for law enforcement purposes (we will discuss this more later in the piece).
What is absolutely crucial to understand here, but almost entirely left out of the reporting of this issue, is this:
- CBD Oil derived from marijuana is alreadyillegal at the federal level. Nothing here has changed with the Final Rule.
- CBD Oil derived from Hemp is 100% legal at the federal level and remains that way.
- This Final Rule is aimed at Marijuana Extracts and not Hemp.
- In the DEA’s Final Ruling, subsequent comments and description of the ruling, there is never once any mention of Hemp. Read the full text of the DEA ruling here
On February 7, 2014 President Obama quietly signed the Farm Bill into law. Section 7606 of the act, Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research, finally defines Industrial Hemp as distinct from marijuana. The definition now reads:
The term ‘’industrial hemp’’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of not more than 0.3 percent…
This definition is one major reason the DEA’s Final Rule has zero impact on CBD derived from Hemp. The DEA’s Final Rule for marijuana extracts, prior to this new definition, may have impacted Hemp derived CBD, but with the new federal definition, Hemp products, “and any part of such plant”, are protected from laws, and enforcement of laws, that pertain to marijuana or any scheduled drug.
Think of the DEA’s Final Rule like this… Marijuana is already illegal at the federal level and is considered a Schedule I drug. The DEA, extracted CBD from marijuana in their current code and placed it alongside marijuana in the same code. Nothing has changed for consumers or business owners but this allows the DEA to single out individual marijuana extracts for reporting purposes. Prior to the Final Rule, the DEA lumped marijuana and all extracts into one reporting mechanism which provides them and the public with inaccurate statistics. The Final Rule allows them to distinguish between marijuana and products made from marijuana extracts. Drawing a distinction here is important, just like it is important that the distinction be drawn between marijuana and Hemp when reporting on this issue.
Furthermore, the DEA is acting in accordance with international law as they are required to by U.S. law dictated by the U.S. Controlled Substance Act. The United Nations Conventions on international drug control views and tracks marijuana extracts separately from marijuana or THC. The DEA’s recent Final Rule for marijuana extracts is required by international law and will allow, hopefully, for more appropriate accounting of extracts consistent with UN agreements.
There will continue to be fits and starts as federal and state governments regulate this growing industry but viewing this recent false alarm as a wakeup call for Hemp businesses, advocates, and consumers seems the most appropriate response at this time. The DEA’s Final Rule on marijuana extracts has ignited a fire under everyone in the Hemp industry and has encouraged consumers of CBD products to pay attention. If, as a community, we redirect this palpable energy and intellect toward preventing future laws and cabinet members that would devastate the Hemp industry, we will be prepared to collectively act before its too late.
If anything changes, or we discover new information suggesting Hemp-derived CBD products are illegal, we will communicate that to everyone (only after we research it thoroughly and have a firm understanding of the issue).