On Dec. 14, 2016, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration announced a new rule that makes hemp-based cannabidiol a federally illegal substance. Under the new rules, liquid extracts derived from plants of the cannabis genus that contain one or more cannabinoids are now considered a schedule I substance.
Introduced by DEA chief Chuck Rosenberg under the auspices of allowing “DEA and DEA-registered entities to track quantities of this material separately from quantities of marihuana,” the new rule has many advocates crying foul over its overly broad interpretation.
“What DEA Administrator Rosenberg seems to be saying with this clarification is: You may be able to grow hemp. But if you try to extract CBD oil from it, the DEA considers that a federal crime,” wrote Bruce Barcott, Leafly’s deputy editor, in an op-ed.
Although the new rule may disrupt businesses that sell hemp-based CBD oil nationwide, the rule is unlikely to affect states where marijuana is legal medicinally. Under the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which was passed in 2014, the Justice Department cannot use federal funds to interfere with state medical marijuana laws.
The new rule is expected to go into effect on Jan. 13, 2017.