Last week the hemp industry in the United States faced a roadblock after the federal U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a decision by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to list cannabidiol or CBD as a Schedule 1 controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act. It’s worth pointing out that CBD has no psychoactive effects and is not the same as THC, the active ingredient that gets you high when smoking marijuana. The definition of a Schedule 1 controlled substance is as follows,
Schedule 1 (I) drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined by the federal government as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Schedule 1 (I) drugs are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence.
Let that sink in for a moment. Keep in mind that methamphetamine aka crystal meth, cocaine, fentanyl, and oxycodone all fall under the Schedule 2 category in the Controlled Substances Act. I don’t know about you, but to me, something feels off about this.
Back in 2016, the hemp industry brought a lawsuit against the government when the DEA issued a “clarifying rule” that claimed CBD was in fact, an illicit drug, simply because it was a byproduct of cannabis flowers. A report released by the Denver Post explained,
Represented by Denver-based cannabis law firm Hoban Law Group, the Hemp Industries Association and other hemp businesses challenged the DEA’s rule and alleged the agency overstepped its bounds by essentially scheduling substances — notably cannabinoids — that were not classified as illicit in the Controlled Substances Act. Additionally, they argued, the hemp-derived extracts rich in CBD, or cannabinol, are protected under state laws and Farm Bill provisions.
The rule could be misinterpreted by other federal and local agencies, leading to unlawful product seizures and chill a booming multibillion-dollar hemp products industry, Hoban attorneys had said.
The DEA responded by claiming that they had simply provided clarification to the existing law, and stated that their decision, “makes no substantive change to the government’s control of any substance.”
Again, the DEA is failing to acknowledge the major difference between industrial hemp, which by the way, provided the paper for the original declaration of independence to be written on, and it contains virtually no psychoactive properties. THC, on the other hand, does produce strong psychoactive effects, so the DEA maintains their stance by saying that because CBD comes from the flowering parts of the cannabis plant and cannabinoids “are found in the parts of the cannabis plant that fall within the … definition of marijuana, such as the flowering tops, resin, and leaves.”
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to the DEA’s decision to clarify that CBD is therefor a “marijuana extract.” Thankfully, producers of CBD vowed to appeal the decision.
“We will be appealing, and we will be funding that appeal,” said Michael Brubeck, CEO of Centuria Natural Foods and a plaintiff in the case. Centuria was joined in its challenge by the Hemp Industries Association.
During the decision-making process, the panel consisting of three judges said the plaintiffs had failed to comment during the DEA’s rulemaking process, which is what inevitably nullified the majority of their challenge to the upstanding classification.
Attorney Bob Hoban, in a statement on Wednesday, said his clients are weighing whether to request a rehearing due to concerns about the safety and security of those who make and sell hemp extracts, including CBD.
“Though we appreciate the court’s finding in favor of the legitimacy of the Farm Bill’s hemp amendment, we are still disappointed with the court’s findings that the final rule does not interfere with lawful, hemp-related business activities, as even 29 members of Congress confirmed in their Amicus Brief to the Court,” Hoban wrote. “Given the pervasive confusion and irreconcilable conflicts of the law that have led to product seizures, arrests and criminal charges against those involved in the lawful hemp industry, the petitioners believe that the final rule must be invalidated, absent the court clarifying and further resolving these conflicts and their severe consequences.”
The reason this is so frustrating is that CBD certainly does have medicinal value and has been a godsend for millions of people who suffer from chronic pain. In fact, an advisory committee for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved pharmaceutical grade cannabidiol (CBD) medicine as a treatment method for severe epilepsy. How can a Schedule 1 Substance, which is supposed to have no medicinal value, be FDA approved, as a treatment?
People with cancer have also utilized cannabis, as multiple studies in the lab showed it completely destroys cancer cells.
Thankfully, the truth continues to come out and before long CBD, and hopefully, cannabis altogether will be completely removed from the Schedule 1 Controlled substances act. How could something be fully legal for recreational use in some states, and soon will be all of Canada, yet regarded as such a “bad drug” in most of the United States? C’mon America, get with the times! Legalize.
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