New DEA rule on “marihuana” extracts irks cannabis industry

New DEA rule on “marihuana” extracts irks cannabis industry

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently filed a final rule notice for establishing a Controlled Substances Code Number for “marihuana” extract, and then categorizing the recreational drug marijuana, hemp as well as their derivatives as Schedule I substances.

The filing states that there is a new for a new code number because the U.N. Conventions on international drug control treats extracts from cannabis plants other than marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinols (THC). The new rule is expected to go into effect on Jan. 13, 2017.

The rule and its potential effects led to speculation and confusion among cannabis advocates and businesses about what actions the government would take on cannabinoids, cannabidiol and hemp. However, DEA spokesperson Russ Baer assured that the final rule notice is mainly an administrative move and it doesn’t reflect any change in any control status.

Baer added that the new code would allow the agency’s internal accounting mechanisms to be more precise to track elements like medical and scientific research. Codes are used by researchers to identify which substance is subject to the project.

Speaking on the topic, he said, “The rule change recognizes that there is a potential medical benefit to some of the cannabinoids. It’s not intended to be speculative (and) doesn’t read into anything that we’re looking at in the future. It’s just a final order on a rulemaking proposal that was initiated back in 2011.”

A majority of the U.S. states now has laws legalizing some forms of medical marijuana, but most of these and other state-initiated marijuana measures are still in conflict with federal laws.