The DEA established a new code on cannabis extracts: making CBD illegal. Published today in the Federal Register (item 21 CFR Part 1308) it classifies cannabis extracts as Schedule I substance. It argues the new classification enables the U.S to comply with international drug-control treaties. The CBD market has relied on the gray areas within the law. Moreover it is unclear what this means for CBD; the classification didn’t make any changes to the law. The timing of the announcement is interesting. Last week the DEA complained the media attention and loosening of cannabis laws across the nation made ‘ enforcement and prosecution for marijuana-related offenses more difficult.’
Hemp CBD vs Cannabis CBD
The new classification makes no distinction between CBD from hemp or cannabis. Hemp CBD is widely available online for purchase. It contains very low levels of THC making it non-psychoactive. Although this may be true, the DEA makes no distinction; ‘extracts of marihuana will continue to be treated as Schedule I controlled substances.’ By treating both kinds of CBD the same, it’s clear that the point of the new classification is to prevent the use of cannabinoids. Many have benefited from the healing properties of CBD.
Safeguards for patients
Patients that live in states with medical cannabis laws are protected from CBD prosecutions. The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment passed in 2014 prohibits the Justice Department from spending funds to interfere with the implementation of state medical cannabis laws. So then, medical cannabis patients are safe to carry CBD products. Just this August the ‘federal 9th US Circuit Court upheld Rohrabacher-Farr in the face of a challenge brought by federal prosecutors.’ Currently 28 states have legal medical cannabis laws alongside the District of Columbia. Also, 16 states have passed CBD-only laws that allow patients the use of non-psychoactive CBD products.
All in all it is unclear what effects this new classification will have on CBD. The new code carries little weight, it serves to confirm the DEA’s stance that cannabis extracts are technically, in their view, illegal.