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Court of Appeals Upholds DEA’s Classification of CBD as a Controlled Substance

The case started in 2016, when the DEA issued a “clarifying rule” stating that CBD is an illegal drug.

Setback for Hemp

A three-judge panel for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied a petition filed by the Hemp Industries Association challenging the DEA’s authority to establish a drug code specifically for marijuana extracts.

This decision dealt a blow to the makers and consumers CBD-rich cannabis extracts who had hoped to get the DEA from classifying their products as a Schedule 1 drug.

The case started in 2016, when the DEA issued a “clarifying rule” stating that CBD is an illegal drug, because it is extracted from marijuana flowers.

The DEA claimed that the code is intended to track cannabis derivatives used in research and to meet treaty obligations, despite the fact that there are numerous pieces of legislation in Congress that aim to exclude CBD from the federal definition of marijuana.

Hemp industry leaders have been pushing back on the Schedule I argument for years and intend to keep it up.

“We will be appealing, and we will be funding that appeal,” said Michael Brubeck, CEO of Centuria Natural Foods and a plaintiff in the case, per Hemp Industry Daily.

The Denver Post reported that the Hemp Industries Association and others are challenging the DEA’s rule with the help of the Hoban Law Group, a Denver-based cannabis law firm.

“The sky is not falling, based upon this decision,” said Garrett O. Graff, an attorney with Hoban.

The court’s view of the Farm Bill coupled with statements out of the DEA last year indicating there was no intent to regulate cannabinoids should give the hemp industry some solace, added Graff.

Furthermore, hemp-derived CBD extracts are protected under state laws and the 2014 Farm Bill.

Indeed, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R- Kentucky) introduced the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 in April, which if passed, would remove industrial hemp from its Schedule I listing.

To no one’s surprise, the DEA is hanging on to its outdated attempts to revive and maintain the failed drug war. Get with the program guys.

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