On Thursday 20th August 2020,  the U.S Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) proposed amendments to the Controlled Substance Act (CSA) to bring its enforcement in compliance with the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (the 2018 Farm Bill).

What is the Farm Bill?

In the United States, the Farm Bill is the primary agricultural and food policy of the Federal Government. Updated every five years, the Farm Bill comprises agriculture and every other aspect of the United States Department of Agriculture. The Congress ensures the its implementation and are also responsible for amending and enacting the Farm Bill.

What is Hemp and CBD definition under the 2018 Farm Bill?

Hemp is a variety of the cannabis plant that contains psychoactive components tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with a Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol of no more than 0.3 percent. 

Any other cannabidiol or its derivatives that exceeds 0.3 percent of THC does not meet the satisfaction of the AIA and is considered a controlled substance. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-intoxicating derivative of hemp (cannabis sativa L.) and meets the standard of AIA as an uncontrolled substance.

Hemp and CBD Rules and Regulations

cbd vs thc
 The difference molecular Formula between THC and CBD (Source: Con Distintos Acentos)

It’s no doubt that the legislation’s policy towards hemp is flexible but very serious restrictions still apply. 

  1. Hemp cannot contain more than 0.3% of THC , per section 10113 of the 2018 Farm Bill. Any plant that contains more will be considered Marijuana.
  2. State and Federal regulatory power over hemp cultivation and production will be shared significantly under section 10113 of the Farm Bill.
  3. The federal hemp law considers Hemp cultivation and production without license violations.

DEA Proposed Amendments

The DEA’s proposed interim final rule modifies the agency’s scope of control over cannabis and hemp as laid out in the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (the 2018 Farm Bill).

The four main amendments include: 

  1. Changes to the definition of tetrahydrocannabinols
    • Adding language stating that “tetrahydrocannabinol” (THC) does not include “any material, compound, mixture, or preparation that falls within the definition of hemp.” as stated above.
  2. Removal of Schedule V control of FDA- approved products contain cannabidiol
    • Removing any CBD drug product from Schedule V status that has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and contains CBD “derived from cannabis [with] no more than 0.1% … residual tetrahydrocannabinols.”
  3. Removal of Import/export provisions involving FDA-Approved products containing CBD
    • Removing import and export controls over hemp and its derivatives.
  4. Drug code 7350 for marijuana Extract
    • The “marijuana extract” definition, will exclude substances that contain less than 0.3% delta-9 THC on a dry-weight basis.

The DEA will be accepting public comments on the proposed amendments, with effect from Aug.21 until 11:59pm (Eastern time) Oct. 20, 2020.

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