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DEA Backs Off of Certain Hemp Products

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[dropcap class=”kp-dropcap”]T[/dropcap]he Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) quietly released an internal directive on May 22, admitting that some hemp products are not currently prohibited under the Controlled Substances Act. It means that the certain parts of the hemp plant are not prohibited under current policy.

The DEA’s new policy is in line with a 2004 decision handed down by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in Hemp Industries Association v. DEA.

“Products and materials that are made from the cannabis plant and which fall outside the CSA definition of marijuana (such as sterilized seeds, oil or cake made from the seeds, and mature stalks) are not controlled under the CSA,” the DEA internal directive reads. “Such products may accordingly be sold and otherwise distributed throughout the United States without restriction under the CSA or its implementing regulations. The mere presence of cannabinoids is not itself dispositive as to whether a substance is within the scope of the CSA; the dispositive question is whether the substance falls within the CSA definition of marijuana.”

According to The Canna Law Group and the Harris Bricken law firm, the directive applies to mature stalks, fiber produced from mature stalks, oil or cake made from seeds and seeds that are incapable of germination. Even though the directive lists “any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation,” any extracted resin could be defined as “marijuana” by the DEA and would be prohibited.

A legal analysis describes the new directive as clarification the DEA’s position on cannabinoids that is well overdue, and it could have been done 14 years ago when the Hemp Industries Association challenged the DEA.

“How will they determine which CBD products are subject to the CSA and will people really be prosecuted for trafficking a Schedule I controlled substance where the substance is chemically indistinguishable from one that is not prohibited by the CSA?” asked cannabis law advisor authors Justin E. Hobson & Lewis M. Horowitz. They expect buyers will begin insisting on statements about CBD product sources.

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