DEA Announces Newly Legal Leeway About CBD

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By J.J. McCoy, Senior Managing Editor for New Frontier Data

And just like that, the DEA now says that CBD with 0.3% THC or less is legal for purchase or sale nationwide. It may also be imported to or exported from the United States without restriction unless U.S. Customs and Border Protection steps in, and that, too, may be changing.

An internal directive issued May 22 clarified that "products and materials that are made from the cannabis plant and which fall outside the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) definition of marijuana (such as sterilized seeds, oil or cake made from the seeds, and mature stalks) are not controlled under the CSA. Such products may accordingly be sold and otherwise distributed throughout the United States without restriction under the CSA or its implementing regulations.”

The surprise, unpublicized move by the DEA late last month marked a dramatic about-face by the agency. Reportedly motivated by “numerous inquiries,” the pivot represented a stark reversal from the DEA’s stated position of just 17 months earlier. “Does it create a threshold for a standard? No,” said Patrick Goggin, a senior attorney at Hoban Law Group, who served as co-counsel in the seminal HIA v. DEA cases in the early 2000s. “But it does create a limit, that [DEA agents] need to show more than a mere level of cannabinoid. This is the common ground that we could get to… clear up confusion among sister agencies where the DEA has a great amount of influence.”