U.S. agency moves to clarify hemp not a ‘controlled substance’

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The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has changed the definition of marijuana to exclude hemp — helping to clarify the plant is no longer considered a controlled substance.

The DEA guidance came in a broader announcement that the agency is moving forward to facilitate and expand scientific and medical research for marijuana in the United States. 

Move was anticipated

The move was anticipated following the enactment into law of the 2018 Farm Bill last December that changed the definition of marijuana to exclude “hemp” that contains THC levels of less than 0.3% on a dry weight basis.

The announcement means that hemp, including hemp plants and CBD products which are at or below the 0.3 % THC threshold no longer require DEA registration.

Clarity for police, banks

The DEA guidance on hemp should help to clarify its status vis a vis law enforcement, and give financial institutions more confidence in doing business with hemp companies and organizations. Some banks have shied away from doing business with hemp enterprises over lack of clarity regarding its status.

The DEA announcement ticks another box in the process of clarifying rules and regulations for hemp in the USA. Another federal agency, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is still working out rules governing cosmetics, dietary supplements, food and food additives in the wake of the Farm Bill. The U.S. Hemp Industries Association (HIA) has advised the FDA that existing rules for those products should simply be expanded to embrace hemp extracts.

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