The media has been ablaze with reports on the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and its recent establishment of a new “drug code” for “marihuana extract.” The DEA has listed new rules for those working with cannabidiol (CBD) and other cannabinoid extracts in the industry.
It might seem pretty clear from reading the DEA announcement that they’ve decided to go back to their longstanding policy of considering all phytocannabinoids — that is, cannabinoids derived from the marijuana plant — as Schedule I controlled substances. In fact, they come right out and say as much.
“It’s been misreported so bad, that Huffington Post was forced to yank their story completely,” reads a press release from Medical Marijuana Inc. They don’t go into who “forced” this, or why.
According to the press release, Medical Marijuana, Inc., is sticking with a previous court decision rather than the new DEA rule. They clearly feel that the DEA has over-reached its authority, because they’re going to keep selling CBD.
“Medical Marijuana, Inc. is pleased to announce that the DEA Federal Registry amendment to create a new code for ‘marijuana extracts,’ in no way affects the Company’s hemp oil, containing naturally occurring cannabinoids, including CBD, or its operations,” said Dr. Stuart Titus, CEO of Medical Marijuana, Inc.
“In the past, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has conclusively held that hemp products, such as those marketed by the Company, which are derived from the part of the Cannabis plant which is exempt from the Controlled Substances Act, is legal for import from Europe,” Dr. Titus said. “In the Ninth Circuit case that served to uphold the legality of the Company’s products, the Court struck rules that had been promulgated by the DEA that would have made the Company’s products a scheduled substance and the Court permanently enjoined the DEA from enforcing the stricken rules.
“There has been no superseding ruling since the Ninth Circuit’s decision,” Dr. Titus said. “Therefore, the Company’s products continue to be legal and are not controlled substances. Accordingly, the legality of Medical Marijuana, Inc.’s products remains unchanged in light of this new Federal Registry.
“Further, our Company considers the development a major market opportunity, as we have analyzed and followed the chain of custody of our products from inception to ensure that they are derived from the exempt parts of the Cannabis plant and are therefore not controlled substances,” Dr. Titus said.
Yes, it actually sounds a lot as if Dr. Titus is happy that the field is being cleared of much of the competition.
A close reading of the DEA announcement reveals that yes, they do, in fact, consider even 100 percent pure CBD a Schedule I controlled substance. Yes, that’s crazy; and yes, that’s a completely unscientific position to take. But the DEA has never, ever been bound by science. Hell, they’ve been lying their asses off about THC for 50 years now, and they certainly won’t have any problem doing the same about CBD.
“Project CBD has been debunking the claim that CBD is federally legal for the last seven years,” that organization announced on Thursday. “We maintain that CBD’s illegality should be vociferously challenged. We strongly support the legalization of all forms of cannabis — industrial hemp, as well as marijuana — and all components of the plant, including CBD and THC.”
“It’s unclear to what extent the DEA will follow through on its threat to move against businesses that manufacture cannabis oil products,” according to Project CBD. “For the moment, it would appear that cannabis oil companies that operate in compliance with state medical marijuana laws will stand a better chance of withstanding a federal assault — at least initially. The Rohrabacher Amendment, which must be renewed by Congress in April 2017, explicitly prohibits the Justice Department from using federal funds to undermine state medical marijuana laws.”
What Happens Next?
These guys at Medical Marijuana Inc., might be in denial that the DEA just had its way with their “hemp oil” business model. Or maybe they’re right. Or maybe they’re crazy. Or maybe they don’t want to interrupt the cash flow until they’re forced to do so. Or maybe they have stones of steel.
If the DEA chooses to go after Medical Marijuana Inc., it appears that the company is prepared to fight them, using the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision as a precedent. That sounds a lot like “See you in court!” to me.