CBD Legality

In October of 2001, the Drug Enforcement Agency published a ruling in the Federal Register declaring industrial hemp products with any trace of residual amounts of THC to be unlawful. This interpretive rule banning hemp seed, hemp oil, and hemp food products that contained a fraction of THC occurred without any compelling reason, and without the required public notice and comment period. At the time, this action was particularly puzzling, as the DEA had not targeted the poppy seed industry for their trace amounts of opioids, and in fact, in the 1990’s, the U.S. government increased drug-testing thresholds to accommodate the poppy seed industry.

This DEA ruling was a considerable blow to the hemp industry and resulted in a lawsuit between the DEA, and the Hemp Industries Association (HIA). Following years of litigation, in February of 2004, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a unanimous decision in favor of the HIA, in which Judge Betty Fletcher stated:

“They (the DEA) cannot regulate naturally-occurring THC not contained within or derived from marijuana – i.e. non-psychoactive hemp is not included in Schedule I. The DEA has no authority to regulate drugs that are not scheduled, and it has not followed procedures required to schedule a substance. The DEA’s definition of ‘THC’ contravenes the unambiguously expressed intent of Congress in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), and cannot be upheld.”

In February of 2014, President Obama signed the Farm Bill of 2013 into law. Section 7606 of the act, Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research, qualifies industrial hemp as distinct from marijuana, and permits institutions of higher learning or state department’s of agriculture, in states where hemp is legalized, to regulate and launch research and pilot programs. In summary, 7606 authorizes “agricultural pilot programs”, which study the “growth, cultivation, or marketing of industrial hemp”. Thusly, the sales and marketing of hemp’s raw materials is permitted under said-programs.

In December of 2016, the DEA established a new drug code, contradicting the Farm Bill Act 2013, and resulting in another lawsuit between the DEA and the HIA. We at bioRemedies MD have been following the DEA ruling since December, and our understanding is identical to that of the Hoban Law Group’s interpretation:

“The fact that the DEA, an unelected government body with no legislative authority, is attempting to outlaw all cannabinoids is concerning and problematic as it pertains to portions of the plant not legally defined as ‘marihuana’, and as it pertains to lawfully cultivated and processed Farm Bill-compliant industrial hemp.”


“The DEA’s new definition for ‘Marihuana Extract’ includes: ‘an extract containing one or more cannabinoids that has been derived from any plant of the genus Cannabis, other than the separated resin (whether crude or purified) obtained from the plant’. The primary problem with this new definition is that it purports to broadly outlaw all 80-plus cannabinoids `{`such as cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN), cannabigerol (CBG), etc`}` contained within this genus. And cannabinoids are not unlawful controlled substances. The only cannabinoid that has been specifically identified in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)…”

The Controlled Substance Act (CSA) is the federal U.S. drug policy under which the manufacture, importation, possession, use, and distribution of specified chemicals and substances are regulated. The addition, deletion or change of schedule of a medicine or substance may be requested by the DEA, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), or from any other party via petition to the DEA. Under Schedule I, a substance must meet the following three requirements:

  • The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.
  • The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
  • There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.

A high potential for abuse indicates habit-forming behavior, and then a sharp decline in general well-being, however, multiple studies have found cannabidiol to be an effective solution for addiction.  

The second inconsistency with this classification is many Americans are currently using CBD as a means of relieving anxietystresspain, and most notably, epileptic seizures in children.

Thirdly, although much of the research surrounding CBD in the states is anecdotal (due predominantly to prohibition), we do know for certain that CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning the user will not experience intoxication, regardless of the dosage. We also know there has never been a single reported death from ingesting or inhaling cannabis. As quoted by DEA Judge Francis Young:

“At present, it is estimated that marijuana’s LD-50 is around 1:20,000 or 1:40,000. In layman terms, this means that in order to induce death, a marijuana smoker would have to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times as much marijuana as is contained in one marijuana cigarette. NIDA-supplied marijuana cigarettes weigh approximately .9 grams. A smoker would theoretically have to consume nearly 1,500 pounds of marijuana within about fifteen minutes to induce a lethal response.”

For more information on hemp, and the Farm Bill Bill Act, check-out VoteHemp.com, and ProjectCBD.org. You can also view the hearing held between the HIA and the DEA here. Or feel free to contact us at support@bioremmd.com.

Be well. Stay kind.