We’re all aware that the DEA doesn’t believe that marijuana has medicinal benefits or that it is safer than a number of prescription medications, regardless of the scientific evidence that supports those claims. In August they denied petitions to remove cannabis from the most restrictive category of the Controlled Substances Act – and now they are amending the CSA to specifically include marijuana extracts.
In the new drug code titled “Establishment of a New Drug Code for Marihuana Extract,” the DEA says it is “creating a separate code number for marihuana extract with the following definition: ‘Meaning an extract containing one or more cannabinoids that has been derived from any plant of the genus Cannabis, other than the separated resin (whether crude or purified) obtained from the plant.’ Extracts of marihuana will continue to be treated as Schedule I controlled substances.”
This new code effectively puts an end to the legal grey area that has allowed companies to sell CBD products that are derived from hemp plants, rather than medical marijuana plants. Since hemp products with less than 1% THC are legal (hemp oil, cloth, lotions, etc.), many companies started to sell CBD products all across the U.S. under the assumption that it was legal if the CBD was extracted from hemp – but this law clarifies that, making any and all extracts from cannabis plants (no matter how little THC they may contain) specifically Schedule I.
“This code,” wrote DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg, “will allow DEA and DEA-registered entities to track quantities of this material separately from quantities of marihuana.”
Apparently, the move is supposed to bring the U.S. into compliance with international drug-control treaties. While it doesn’t necessarily change the law, it does make it a little clearer – and will likely put an end to CBD products being sold across all 50 states, which is unfortunate. Luckily, there are laws in place that will continue to protect patients in states with medical marijuana laws from prosecution under federal law – including those that allow CBD-only products.
“This action is beyond the DEA’s authority,” Hoban told Leafly in an interview. “The DEA can only carry out the law, they cannot create it. Here they’re purporting to create an entirely new category called ‘marijuana extracts,’ and by doing so wrest control over all cannabinoids. They want to call all cannabinoids illegal. But they don’t have the authority to do that.”
Whether or not the DEA should be able to amend the Controlled Substances Act, they have – reminding everyone that they are keeping cannabis a controlled substance and actually expanding it to include extracts from any genus of cannabis, including industrial hemp.
**Update: Title changed from “The DEA Makes CBD a Schedule 1 Drug”