Legal or Not: The DEA’s Ruling on CBD

Bethan Jenkins

October 11th, 2017


Is the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) cracking down on medical cannabis products? According to the latest reports, it seems that the news might not be a myth after all. The 2013 Farm Bill saw CBD products with a THC level of 0.3% or less become legal. Even President Obama was on board with the idea, until the DEA decided they wanted to change the legalities associated with products derived from the marijuana plant’s naturally-occurring compound, cannabidiol (CBD).

Sounds pretty crazy, right? Especially considering the fact that the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) released a statement clarifying the following:

Oil made from cannabis seeds is on the list of exceptions to the illegality of ‘marihuana’. CBD oil extracted from hemp plants grown in Northern Europe is legal because hemp oil has been a legal import to the United States for decades.”

Nevertheless, the DEA told The Cannabist that cannabis extracts are ‘’federally illegal, Schedule I substances’. This means that the incredible growth we’ve seen in the marketing and selling of marijuana-derived concentrates are at risk of being removed from the shelves at marijuana dispensaries across the nation.

How can this be so, if CBD is a non-psychoactive compound, you ask? Well, the fight for federally legal cannabis extracts continues. Nonetheless, science has exposed the medical potential of CBD, from its ability to reduce seizures to the skin enhancement, anti-inflammatory and effects. With that being said (and so many cannabis advocates disagreeing with the DEA’s decision), a hemp war could be on the verge of erupting.

DEA’s Rule on CBD is Affecting the Economy and Consumers

If you’re a regular user of CBD-rich extracts, like oils and tinctures, not to worry. It’s not CBD users who are breaking the law, but the DEA. If this compound of the marijuana plant can cure ailments, diseases and widespread medical conditions, what’s the problem?

An economical impact is sure to be felt if the DEA’s decision sticks. The rule was put into place back on December 14, 2016. Known as the Final Rule establishing a new “Controlled Substance Code Number (drug code) for marijuana extract” outlines how CBD products are legal, if they are sourced from the part of the plant that is legal.

The Hemp Business Journal and Vote Hemp released astonishing figures of hemp sales throughout 2016, which surpassed $688 million. The DEA’s main targets are producers of products containing non-psychoactive cannabinoids. Since CBD is essentially a type of superfoods, there is no wonder why so many hemp supporters are unhappy with the ruling.

Hemp Industry Association Sues the DEA for CBD Ruling

At the end of September, well-known online store Target removed Charlotte’s Web CBD oil from their website. This was a shocker for CBD consumers, not to mention the producers of the oil, which was produced by the Stanley Brothers to cure a young girl named Charlotte Figi of serious epilepsy. The unexpected move by Target is expected to be linked to the DEA’s warning under the Controlled Substances Act.

For the people reading this, get ready to witness a forthcoming challenge, because the DEA is contesting the hemp industry’s claims. An argument from the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) highlights the following very relevant fact:

The hemp industry had no right to challenge ‘marijuana extract’ rule. The DEA abused its authority because it failed to follow the appropriate procedures in scheduling marijuana extract and cannabinoids, as required by the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).”

Is the DEA leader or President Trump to blame for these hemp wars?

All of you pot lovers out there better be prepared for some changes in pot politics, because President Donald Trump is next in line to take on Chuck Rosenberg duties. Following two years of actively working as the best anti-drug official in the nation, Rosenberg will take a step back from the Drug Enforcement Administration and allow Trump to take the reigns.

Good or bad idea? Well, marijuana’s medical utility and its potential ‘dangers’ are two of many roles taken on by the DEA. If Trump can accomplish the task of reforming the laws on CBD oil, cannabis supporters will soon be able to relax. In the meantime, they wait anxiously, with the Marijuana Policy Project‘s communications director and American rights activist, Mason Tvert, saying:

“Our nation cannot afford another DEA administrator who refuses to differentiate between marijuana and heroin.”

Could there be a lawsuit to reverse the DEA’s decision?

Panic is being felt in the cannabis industry ever since the DEA announced that marijuana-based derivatives (CBD oil being a main one) would be classified as a Controlled Substance Code Number, Centuria Natural Foods, among many other pro-cannabis companies, have protested against the “Establishment of New Drug Code for Marihuana Extract”.

The DEA is being pretty stubborn. Conversely (and thankfully), the lawsuit does not agree with the DEA. Marijuana users can legally utilize the plant’s mature stalk and until the DEA is able to unearth any mind blowing new research pertaining to medicinal marijuana studies, you can relax a little. Vape that CBD-rich oil, extract your seeds and make some cannabutter; just stay updated with the DEA’s CBD laws!

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Bethan Jenkins

About Bethan Jenkins

Bethan is a full-time wanderluster, traveler, and digital nomad with 7 years of experience in the freelance writing world. She has mastered the art of beating jet lag and using hammocks as an office for content curation.

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