In an unexpected announcement on December 14, 2016, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has released a new ruling on “Marihuana Extract” products and given them a new Administration Controlled Substances Code Number, effectively making them illegal under federal law (The DEA gave no explanation as to their archaic and unorthodox spelling of “marijuana”).
This ruling affects any and all extracts of marijuana plants, including cannabidiol extracts, known as “CBD” products on the market. It will devastate the CBD extract industry, which was valued at $65 million in 2015 according to one estimate, and potentially rob thousands of patients with conditions ranging from fibromyalgia, PTSD, chronic inflammation, AIDS and cancer the medicine they need to reduce painful symptoms and enhance their well-being.
Some in the legal field are already alleging that a unilateral ruling such as this one oversteps the authority of the DEA by circumventing congress, and they also voice concerns that the ruling may needlessly affect industrial hemp products, which contain only trace amounts of THC and are largely used in textiles and other materials manufacturing.
We want to assure our clients and any concerned readers that we are currently looking into the issue and will join other attorneys in litigation pushing back against such actions if we are able to deem that they run contrary to other federal laws, state laws and prior court rulings.
Why the DEA CBD Ruling Made CBD Illegal
One of the most concerning aspects of this new “Final Ruling” lies in the fact that it encompasses CBD extracts along with other products that may contain low or no quantities of THC, marijuana’s main psychoactive component.
The DEA issued the following response to such comments:
For practical purposes, all extracts that contain CBD will also contain at least small amounts of other cannabinoids. 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 7350. In view of this comment, the regulatory text accompanying new drug code 7350 has been modified slightly to make clear that it includes cannabis extracts that contain only one cannabinoid.
In other words, the DEA asserts that all CBD extracts fall under this new drug code and ruling because they inevitably contain some amount of other cannabinoids. They even go so far as to state that if such were not the case, the new drug code still encompasses a hypothetically “pure” CBD product.
Contradictions and Ramifications with State Laws
Currently, 28 states have medical cannabis laws, and eight passed adult use laws during the most recent November election. Most if not all of these laws run contrary to federal policies that state that medical marijuana is a schedule I substance, meaning that in the federal government’s opinion it has no accepted medical use and can be addicting.
Since many state legislators and electors resoundingly disagree with this opinion — likely including the million-plus medical marijuana patients nationwide — marijuana attorneys representing patients and businesses will be closely examining the legal ramifications of the ruling and likely challenging it in the near future.
If you own a medical marijuana business or are a medical marijuana patient who wants to fight for your right to doctor-approved medicine, then you do not have to take the DEA’s unilateral ruling lying down. Call the offices of our Nevada medical marijuana lawyers using the phone number you see above or contact us online today to defend your rights and examine every legal avenue you have against the DEA’s recent actions.