Drug Enforcement Administration Proposes New Interim Final Rule

August 25, 2020


On Thursday, August 20, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued a new Interim Final Rule affecting legal hemp and bringing the DEA’s definitions into compliance with the 2018 Farm Bill.

This new rule revises the definition of THC and marijuana extracts to exclude legal hemp products from the Controlled Substances Act (those containing no more than 0.3% THC). It also deschedules Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved CBD products, removing them from their current status on Schedule V. 

However, the rule from the DEA still deviates from the Farm Bill in certain, potentially significant, ways. The Farm Bill differentiates THC that is derived from legal hemp from that derived from cannabis, approving hemp-derived products under the statute. The DEA’s proposed rule instead states “It is not enough that a product is labeled or advertised as ‘hemp.’… Cannabis-derived products that exceed the 0.3% delta-9 THC limit do not meet the statutory definition of ‘hemp’ and are schedule I controlled substances.” In so doing, it focuses on the THC content of the product, regardless of whether it is derived from hemp or from cannabis. This could create significant problems for hemp businesses that unintentionally find themselves working with hemp-derived products above the 0.3% delta-9 THC limit set forth in the DEA’s proposed rule.

Even though the rules took immediate effect upon publication in the Federal Register, they are not yet final. The DEA will be taking comments from stakeholders through October 20.

If you need information on how this new rule affects your business, contact John Mackewich at 419-249-7103 or at mackewich@marshall-melhorn.com.

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