When Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill it cleared the way for hemp to be grown across the United States. Hemp comes from the cannabis plant which is mostly known for its ability to produce marijuana which remains illegal. The difference between the two is simple: one gets you high, the other doesn’t. However, some store owners have recently started selling a version of hemp that produces a similar effect as marijuana, effectively blurring the lines. The federal Drug Enforcement Administration has attempted to ban the new product, but that’s not deterred business owners who are now exploiting a legal loophole.
“Hence some of those crazy reactions we have read about in regards to using spice and those kinds of things,” Gordons said. “I would highly recommend everybody not to touch that stuff.”
“So it’s present for a little bit in the plant. But how guys are doing it in California and some guys out here they’re using a CBD concentrate and using that to convert into a Delta-8-THC molecule,” said Gordon.
But the attempt to ban the high-inducing CBD has run into headwinds. For one, the DEA is trying to ban it by rule, not by law. And That new rule is being challenged by the Hemp Industries Association. Board member Tim Gordon is the Scientific Officer for a CBD and Hemp company. And he says Delta-8 is in no way synthetic.
“If I use a Delta-9-THC product from a medical marijuana treatment center it creates a euphoric high that can last anywhere from two to four hours,” said Petrick. “Delta-8 on the other hand is very quick in and quick out, it’s an effect that lasts anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half.”
But drug warriors do not go quietly into that good night, and DEA remains in the picture. It issued an interim rule seeking to regulate the industry—in particular, against extractors. When processing hemp from the hempy biomass to oil, the intermediary hemp material (IHM) transiently contains THC levels above the legal limit of 0.3%. DEA has taken that scenario, as well as waste hemp material (HWM) as another inevitable byproduct of hemp processing, as a reason to crack down on extractors.
It’s anybody’s guess which way the court will decide. On the one hand, the 2018 Farm Bill is rather explicit about writing DEA out of the regulation of hemp. But the U.S. Department of Agriculture wrote a rule re-inserting DEA. And the recent hubbub over buzzy delta-8 THC has raised eyebrows that this kissing cousin to get-high delta-9 THC—while technically legal per the farm bill—nevertheless is reason enough to get DEA back in hemp’s business.
HIA is famous for defeating DEA in court—starting in 2004 when it successfully won the right to nosh on hemp seeds.
That, however, is not good enough for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The nonpareil drug warrior agency issued an interim final rule (IFR) last August that takes the position that transiently hot hemp during the extraction process qualifies as “marihuana,” and thus, extractors are in possession of a Schedule I controlled substance.
Extractors are freaked out that they could now become felons just for doing their job.
The simple form lists five different broad criteria for registering how the IFR has affected business practices:
Enter the 43-page HIA lawsuit. HIA is seeking comment from anyone affected as part of the case it is building against DEA.