New DEA rules on CBD extracts could harm patients

The Drug Enforcement Administration struck fear into medical marijuana patients around the country when it announced it will create a new Administration Controlled Substances Code Number for “Marihuana Extract,” which would include CBDs that have clearly proven medical benefits and no psychoactive elements which are produced by a different ingredient, THC.

According to the DEA publication: To better track these materials and comply with treaty provisions, DEA is creating a separate code number for marijuana 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 marijuana will continue to be treated as Schedule I controlled substances.

There is a White House petition urging the DEA not to classify CBDs as Schedule I  which we would encourage you to sign. With CBDs being more regulated is the potential for patients, including many children who use CBDs, to face additional challenges in acquiring the medication.

However, The Cannabist says the measure may not be as frightening to CBD patients as was initially feared.

A DEA spokesman told The Cannabist that the new code is to “more accurately reflect the activities of scientific research and provide more consistent adherence to the requirements.”

Although those who ship CBD oil would be in violation of federal law, DEA spokesman Russ Baer said the federal register note does not change the DEA’s enforcement priorities, which Baer spoke to in August when discussing the DEA’s decision to maintain marijuana as a Schedule I substance

The nation is in the throes of an opioid epidemic, and it is there — not cracking down on offenses such as a mother transporting CBD oil for her daughter across state lines to Nebraska — where the DEA needs to allocate its resources, Baer said, adding that the DEA is “focusing on heroin, fentanyl, meth, cocaine.”

“People should not get hung up on this idea that the DEA somehow is still a big, bad wolf,” he said. “We are not. We are engaged with the medical community. We have new strategies,” Baer said over the summer.

Hoban Law Group founder Bob Hoban told the Cannabist he fears the new classification could “give the DEA control of all cannabinoids as a controlled substance.” This, in turn, could result in other federal and state agencies using these classifications to define what is legal and illegal.

“At a minimum, it interferes with commerce,” Hoban said. “At a maximum, it exposes people potentially to criminal action.”

Hemp industry leaders, who are working to embolden the use of industrial hemp for a variety of uses, are also concerned about the classification and what it could mean for hemp-derived products and whether suddenly products that have nothing to do with smoking marijuana would be illegal.

Better safe than sorry. That White House petition once again can be found here.




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