This week, on December 14th, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) passed a new rule to make cannabis extract a separate Schedule I drug from marijuana. This move gets rid of any question that cannabis extract is indeed illegal on a federal level. Schedule I drugs are considered the most dangerous, high risk drug (like heroin) and are considered to contain no medicinal value. The move has many people angry and baffled, considering 28 states across the country use oils derived from cannabis extract to treat a wide range of conditions, from epilepsy to muscle inflammation. These oils often contain less than 0.3 percent THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Instead they contain CBD or cannabidiol.
The New ID Number for Cannabis Extract
Under the new regulation, cannabis extract is classified under a different identification number. The new identification number is 7350. Those who exclusively manufacture marijuana extracts must register under the new code and update the registration annually. Those who need to update their registration will have 30 days from the 14th to do the paperwork. Entities that handle marijuana will stay on the old code number; 7360. Failure to be up to date with the new code will be considered a violation.
“Misguided and, Frankly, Ignorant”
Jeffrey Zucker, president and co-founder of Denver-based Green Lion Partners said, “This is a misguided and, frankly, ignorant move by the DEA. CBD does nothing but help people, and to put it on a level with heroin is absurd. Hopefully the backlash will be extreme enough for them to reconsider, as the only group this ruling helps is the pharmaceutical industry.”
The DEA’s Attempt at Justification
According to the DEA, the regulation was created in order to keep U.S. regulations consistent with international standards and in compliance with international drug-law treaties. Acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg said it was necessary for them to be able to track quantities of the marijuana extracts separately from the marijuana. The new code allows the government to track shipments of the extracts independently from marijuana.
A Perspective Opposing Science and Public Demand
Marijuana reform advocates have been outraged by the decision. Nate Bradley, executive director of the California Cannabis Industry Association expressed his frustration, stating that “Once again, the federal government has shown that it has not caught up with modern science.” Americans across the country use the extract for medicinal purposes every day. Over half of the country has voted in favor of its legalization and its medicinal value. In fact 20 percent of the country has voted to legalize recreational marijuana now and according to a recent Gallup poll, 60 percent of Americans are in favor of ending prohibition entirely and legalizing the adult use of marijuana. The latest decision by the DEA supports the pharmaceutical industry and, beyond this, has no basis in medical fact.
Earlier this year the DEA refused to reclassify marijuana, after being asked by many senators to review its classification. They cited that there was not enough government authorized scientific evidence to support its medicinal value. This was due to the fact that the medical research of marijuana was banned by the DEA. They have decided to lift this ban, allowing for research to be done. Perhaps when the evidence has been presented they will finally overturn their archaic and factually problematic laws.