The DEA Issues Memo—Hemp Derived CBD is a Schedule I Drug and Always Was

By Keith Mansur

Oregon Cannabis Connection.


After weeks of upheaval and many arguments in the cannabis and hemp industry over the federal legal status of hemp derived CBD, the DEA issued a memo clarifying the issue. They explain that, though industrial hemp may have some exemptions, CBD produced from any cannabis plant is still considered a Schedule I Controlled Substance under the Controlled Substances Act.

According to the memo, all derivatives of the plant which come from the flowering tops, resin, and leaves of cannabis are considered to be within the CSA definition of marijuana. They explain that, “cannabinoids are not found in the parts of the cannabis plant that are excluded from the CSA definition of marijuana, except for trace amounts.”

“Based on the scientific literature, it is not practical to produce extracts that contain more than trace amounts of cannabinoids using only the parts of the cannabis plant that are excluded from the CSA definition of marijuana, such as oil from the seeds,” the memo states.

The memo references their decision in footnotes in the memo. One footnote is from the same case many medical hemp farmers (hemp CBD farmers) used to claim their product was exempt from the CSA. They explain in one footnote:

However, as the Ninth Circuit stated in Hemp II (See Hemp Industries Association v. DEA, 357 F.3d 1012 (9th Cir. 2004) (Hemp II), “When Congress excluded from the definition of marijuana ‘mature stalks of such plant, fiber . . . , [and] oil or cake made from the seeds,’ it also made an exception to the exception, and included ‘resin extracted from’ the excepted parts of the plant in the definition of marijuana, despite the stalks and seed exception.”

Thus, if an extract of cannabinoids were produced using extracted resin from any part of the cannabis plant (including the parts excluded from the CSA definition of marijuana), such an extract would be included in the CSA definition of marijuana.

Under this ruling the medical hemp growers are apparently restricted to their own state for sale of their products, as we explained in our article in December. CBD, whether industrial hemp derived or extracted from regular medical marijuana plants, is not legal for interstate trade if it is a Controlled Substance. We understood back in December the new definition was finally capturing CBD, but that was not the case. The DEA said it was capturing it all along.

However, medical hemp companies like the Stanley brothers’ Realm of Caring Foundation still promote the idea that it is not. They refer to the farm bill and the ruling mentioned previously as their defense, but the truth is anyone shipping CBD products across state lines is likely breaking the law, at least in the eyes of the DEA.

Also, the FDA cracked down on CBD companies back in 2015. At that time many companies were touting the medical benefits of CBD extracts but the FDA has yet to approve CBD, or any marijuana derived substance, as an approved medicine in the United States. Many products they tested had no CBD in them, or very minor amounts. But since then, substantial cultivation of medical hemp has occurred nationwide and most of those companies want to sell the product as a medicine and over state lines.

Before Trump, or BT as I like to say, it may not have been a major problem, but now its harder to tell but it doesn’t look good. With a new Attorney General suffering from reefer madness delusions, and a new Federal Drug Administration head that is straight from big pharma, the medical hemp industry may be in for a very bumpy ride. And, if you are sending your CBD extracts out of your state, you should be very weary.

Image: Image: Megan Phillips-Breaking Barriers

© 2017 Oregon Cannabis Connection. All rights reserved.

Keith Mansur

Keith Mansur is the founder, publisher, and editor of Oregon Cannabis Connection newspaper. The print publication has been serving Oregon since 2010. He has been a Oregon medical marijuana patient, grower, and caregiver since 2006. Find him on Facebook or email him at

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18 thoughts on “The DEA Issues Memo—Hemp Derived CBD is a Schedule I Drug and Always Was

  • 03/14/2017 at 11:12 am

    So they are going to keep the only counter agent to Fukushima on Ice while the population fries from radiation and dies from Cancer. Sounds like a Enemy State has control of the DEA.

  • 03/14/2017 at 12:40 pm

    The DEA is a terrorist organization responsible for the deaths of more Americans than Al Qaeda, the Taliban and ISIS combined. The “hemp” people need to wake up and realize we need to get Cannabis out of schedule 1 instead of trying to argue that “hemp” is different than “marijuana”

  • 03/14/2017 at 1:10 pm

    Wow, they used research from SEVENTEEN years ago? And TWENTY years ago? I’m surprised they didn’t cite Valerie Vantreese-Askren for fuxxake

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  • 03/14/2017 at 4:53 pm

    Time to ask your congressman to support HR 975..
    Don’t wait until the DEA Stormtroopers show up on your doorstep
    “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the provisions of this subchapter related to marijuana shall not apply to any person acting in compliance with State laws relating to the production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration or delivery of marijuana,”.

  • 03/14/2017 at 6:38 pm

    STOP WRITING BULLSHIT! Have you READ the 2004 decision? Have you read the letter from Congress to the DEA about this issue? People may believe what you’re saying here, that some how the DEA has come up with a new law….but you and I both know that’s total bullshit!

    Steve Sarich
    Washington Hemp Commission

  • 03/14/2017 at 8:26 pm

    What I want to know IS, IS Hemp CBD as good as MJ CBD?????????????? or does it need the THC to work properly????? Anyone with REAL Knowledge of this?????

  • 03/14/2017 at 8:48 pm

    Actually, I did…And you are not an attorney or law enforcement, though I know you pose as LEo on stage from time to time. Its not bullshit and telling pepople its ok is reckless.

  • 03/15/2017 at 6:10 am

    Defund the DEA

  • 03/15/2017 at 6:55 pm

    Whole plant cannabis CBD has the full spectrum of what is good for you in cannabis. There is THC as well. A few can use just CBD, very low THC but most people need the THC as well. I am certainly not an expert on hemp but from what I have read that hemp contains minor canabinoids and is great to use if you are healthy and use it like a vitamin. With anything cannabis, it depends on the person and their condition.

  • 03/15/2017 at 7:15 pm

    Nobody likes a tattle-tale, Keith. Snitches get stitches. Shame on you for spreading the word on what the DEA actually said. What are you, some kind of reporter? You’re SCARING people, dude. Like the dark scares people. Although arguably you’re actually turning on the lights. But what do I know. I’m just some kind of reporter.

  • 03/20/2017 at 8:43 am

    You seem to be asking the same question and I don’t see this answer so I’ll share… They call it the “Entourage Effect” or may be referred to as the “ensemble effect”. The CBD oil (as long as it contains a high % of CBD) is effective for different ailments. However, when you include a little THC with the CBD, the THC helps “boost” the healing effects of the CBD. The key is to find a product that has THC but not too much so it’s still legal and won’t get you high. Here is an article on the Entourage effect for your reference:

    In case you were wondering, I am a Hemp Oil distributor. The 3rd party ratio results for our product: 11.2 (CBD): 1 (THC)

  • 03/20/2017 at 4:56 pm

    I’m confused. Is there a new law that says CBD concentrate is illegal even if it is below the .3 THC level? Can those in states that allow medical, such as Oregon, still produce a CBD concentrate product and be legal? Is this law only about crossing state borders? I am a cancer patient on concentrate in a gel cap at bedtime and want to know what is legal and what is not. If I take my gel caps to California on vacation I’m I now illegal?

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  • 05/19/2017 at 8:50 am

    How do I get ahold of you to ask some more questions?

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