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DEA says Hemp Derived CBD Oil Products are Federally Legal

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Dr. George Stantchev, PhD
Dr. George Stantchev, PhD

Holds a PhD & MS in Electromagnetics & Electrical Engineering Technology

DEA Clarifies Cannabinoids Legality

The Drug Enforcement Agency released an internal directive regarding the presence of cannabinoids in products and materials made form the Cannabis plant this week. In essence the directive of guidance for staff and field agents in the department clarified the (already understood by many in the hemp industry) position that cannabinoids are in fact NOT illegal of themselves and that it depends upon the legal source of the product those cannabiniods are in which determines if that product falls in or outside of the Controlled Substances Act. The directive states:

“Products and materials that are made from the cannabis plant and which fall outside the CSA definition of marijuana are not controlled under the CSA. 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;”

Legal Grey Area?

dea worker carrying large hemp on his back

Articles and websites across the nation over the past years such as a top searched article on Google on the subject from the Bookings Institute dated back to originate back in February 2017 have stated a legal “gray area”, or go as far to state with authority that all CBD products are federally illegal without having understood how legal hemp products containing naturally occurring CBD fit into the legality equation.

The “gray area” is actually quite clear and always has been if you just read and interpret federal code properly, especially not forgetting to read section 7606 of the 2014 US Farm Bill and the 2004 Hemp Industries Association vs DEA court decision. The agency who regulates and oversees Controlled Substances has now stated the mere presence of CBD in a product does not make it illegal.

WHO says CBD has a Good Safety Profile

The World Health Organization has studied the matter and confirmed that CBD oil is safe, even at high doses. They go on to state in their report from November of 2017:

“In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile…To date, there is no evidence of recreation use of CBD or any public health related problems.”

For a substance to be placed on the Controlled Substances Act it must have a potential for abuse and have a likelihood of causing dependence when abused. The substance CBD and most all of the many cannaibnioids do not even come close to fitting this description. It also needs to be clear that every substance that naturally occurs in a substance on the CSA does not by default put that substance on the CSA. In marijuana, the targeted substance to be controlled is Delta 9 THC and not the many other cannaibniods or non psychotropic substances found in the plant.

The Future?

Legislation currently pending in the 115th Congress titled the “Hemp Farming Act of 2018” has bi-partisan support and has a decent chance of actually getting signed into law this year. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is one of the main sponsors of the bill.

At the press conference about the release of the bill he said, “It’s time the federal government changes the way it looks at hemp, which is why Senator Ron Wyden and I, along with Senator Jeff Merkley, are introducing legislation that will modernize federal law in this area & empower American farmers to explore this promising new market.” 

The future of the legal American hemp derived CBD oil industry looks very bright even though some folks are still confused about the legality nuances. This new law will even further solidify the legality and legitimacy of the hemp derived cbd industry.

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