When Congress passed the 2014 Farm Bill, they included industrial hemp as a legitimate agricultural concern. The bill they passed allowed for research and crops grown by educational facilities and allowed states to determine what private parties could participate.
The Farm Bill defines hemp (Cannabis Ruderalis) as a plant that is separate from marijuana (Cannabis Sativa). This determination is based on the lack of THC and no psychoactive components in hemp. They defined the level of THC as being, “not more than .03 percent THC”, a level that is far below what it takes to produce a psychoactive effect. The legislation purposely included ALL parts of the plant, including the flower, and any derivative thereof. This implicitly recognizes that the plant by itself requires processing in order to be of any value. That includes CBD extract.
Hemp CBD has no psychoactive effects and may have medicinal benefits. Any potential medicinal value of hemp is for the FDA to determine, not the DEA. Additionally, the DEA is not a law making agency. They have absolutely no authority to make the law. Their authority is to enforce the laws made by Congress. It is not within the scope of their power to reinterpret, redefine or dilute the law in any way. And yet, that is exactly what the DEA is attempting to do. In essence, the DEA is telling Congress, “We get to decide what the law you passed means, not you.”
Congress was very explicit in the wording of the Farm Bill, yet the DEA is attempting to circumvent the intent of the law. Congress was definitely addressing the necessary processes of turning Hemp into various products. They specifically included ALL parts of the plant, including the flower, which is where CBD extracts come from.
As stated above, the DEA is a regulatory agency with no legislative authority whatsoever, yet they decided to ignore the stated intent of the Farm Bill by parsing the language to suit their own agenda, which in this instance resulted in their classification of CBD as a controlled substance.
The whole issue is now in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. An Amicus Brief has been filed by 28 Senators and Congresspersons in support of the plaintiff in Hemp Industries Association v. Drug Enforcement Administration. It is clear Congress will not let the DEA get away with what is a case of over-reach on their part. We’re keeping a close eye this case as it has far reaching implications.