Inside DEA Ban on Marijuana Extracts
Chris and Trish Thomas’ Good Body Products table was a hotspot at the Cotton Mill Holiday Craft Fair in Brattleboro, Vermont, early this December – they managed to sell out of products both days of fair, hawking all-natural salves, body butters and scents to shoppers eager for stocking stuffers and office party gifts. The most popular items on their table? The Green Power Salve and Whipped Wonder Butter, two products that include hemp-derived cannabidiol, or CBD – a substance that the DEA has just clarified falls under Schedule I drug classification. Yes, this organic, mom-and-pop operation could arguably be breaking the law.
On December 14th, the Drug Enforcement Administration sent businesses like Good Body Products into a tizzy when they filed a notice titled “Establishment of a New Drug Code for Marihuana Extract” in the Federal Register, assigning a code to “marihuana extracts” for the purpose, they say, of tracking scientific studies of these compounds separately from marijuana. This will also help the DEA better comply with international drug control treaties.
Unfortunately for people like the Thomas family, however, the fact that extracts have a specific drug code means that “[they] will continue to be treated as Schedule I controlled substances,” the notice reads. This includes CBD, which doesn’t get the user high and could potentially have myriad medical attributes, including curbing the effects of epilepsy. In short, the Thomas’ Whipped Wonder Butter could basically be treated like heroin come January 13th, when this code goes into effect. That doesn’t mean that the DEA will necessarily enforce it as such, but the potential for loss of business is huge.
Those in the hemp and marijuana community are questioning the new code, the DEA’s power and, perhaps most importantly, the very definition of marijuana extract itself.
Photo credit: Jamie Forde/ZUMA