What The Hell Is Going On With CBD?

January 02, 2017 | SteveElliott

The fallout from the DEA's new classification of all marijuana extracts (including cannabidiol oil) as Schedule I controlled substances.


what-the-hell-cbd-bottle-copy.jpgA new rule from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies all marijuana extracts, including cannabidiol oil, as Schedule I controlled substances, which the government says have no medicinal value.

The perceived gray area when it comes to CBD has resulted in a thriving industry. Non-psychoactive, but medically effective, cannabidiol is currently sold in tinctures, gum, edibles, oil and other forms. That industry, unfortunately, appears to have been destroyed with the stroke of a pen.

Under the new designation, marijuana extracts will have a new identification number. This is to allow the DEA and other federal agencies to track shipment of the products separately from Cannabis itself, reports Justin Worland at Time magazine. The rule also clears up the legal consequences for dealers of CBD extract.

“For practical purposes, all extracts that contain CBD will also contain at least small amounts of other cannabinoids,” the DEA’s new rule states. “However, if it were possible to produce from the Cannabis plant an extract that contained only CBD and no other cannabinoids, such an extract would fall within the new drug code.”

In announcing the change, acting DEA administrator Chuck Rosenberg said the new code was necessary to comply with treaty provisions and “track quantities of this material separately from quantities of marihuana.” A new code, 7350, was added specifically for “marihuana extracts,” joining 7360, the code Cannabis had already been assigned. According to the DEA, a “marihuana extract” is described as “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.”

Companies affected have just 30 days from Dec. 14 to do their initial paperwork. If they miss that deadline, their registration will be in violation.

what-the-hell-cbd-quote.jpgThe Cannabis Business Alliance (CBA) on Dec. 15 released a statement on the rescheduling. The organization, which advocates for Cannabis business owners, called on the federal government to reconsider this unprecedented move that will prohibit access for patients in need across the country.

“Scientific research has shown time and time again that cannabidiol, or CBD oil, is therapeutic for treating countless medical conditions,” said Mark Malone, executive director of the CBA. “This is an unwarranted and erroneous move by the DEA who has proven yet again it has not kept pace with the findings of modern science.

“To put any cannabinoid, which is proven to treat ailments including seizures, epilepsy, PTSD, Crohn’s disease and fibromyalgia, on the same level as heroin is irrational and irresponsible,” Malone said. 

“Once again, the federal government has shown that it has not caught up with modern science,” said Nate Bradley, executive director of the California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA). “It’s common knowledge that CBD has numerous medical uses, including curbing the effects of epilepsy and reducing muscle inflammation from injuries. To deny that shows a complete disregard for the facts.”

The DEA is asking that all Cannabis extract companies re-establish their paperwork for the newly labeled “illegal” substance by Jan. 13, 2017, including any CBD-specific companies and products.

“This action is beyond the DEA’s authority,” said Colorado Cannabis attorney Robert Hoban, adjunct professor of law at the University of Denver, reports Leafly. “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,” Hoban said. “They want to call all cannabinoids illegal. But they don’t have the authority to do that.”

“This is a huge step backwards for Cannabis prohibition and especially for patients who live in states without established medical Cannabis laws,” said the CBA’s Malone. “Now is the time to come together and voice our concerns loud enough for the DEA to reconsider.”

But, according to the folks at Medical Marijuana Inc., “the media has been misreporting the story.” That company is sticking with a previous court decision rather than the new DEA rule. They clearly feel that the DEA has overreached its authority, because they’re going to keep selling CBD.

“Medical Marijuana Inc. is pleased to announce that the DEA federal registry amendment to create a new code for ‘marihuana extracts’ in no way affects the company’s hemp oil, containing naturally occurring cannabinoids, including CBD, or its operations,” said Dr. Stuart Titus, CEO of Medical Marijuana Inc.

“In the past, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has conclusively held that hemp products, such as those marketed by the company, which are derived from the part of the Cannabis plant which is exempt from the Controlled Substances Act, is legal for import from Europe,” Dr. Titus said. “In the 9th Circuit case that served to uphold the legality of the company’s products, the Court struck rules that had been promulgated by the DEA that would have made the company’s products a scheduled substance and the Court permanently enjoined the DEA from enforcing the stricken rules.

“There has been no superseding ruling since the 9th Circuit’s decision,” Dr. Titus said. “Therefore, the company’s products continue to be legal and are not controlled substances. Accordingly, the legality of Medical Marijuana Inc.’s products remains unchanged in light of this new federal registry.” 

“It’s unclear to what extent the DEA will follow through on its threat to move against businesses that manufacture Cannabis oil products,” according to Project CBD. “For the moment, it would appear that Cannabis oil companies that operate in compliance with state medical marijuana laws will stand a better chance of withstanding a federal assault — at least initially. The Rohrabacher Amendment, which must be renewed by Congress in April 2017, explicitly prohibits the Justice Department from using federal funds to undermine state medical marijuana laws.”

Under the incoming Trump Administration, especially considering attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions, no fan of marijuana, all bets are off at that point.

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