The United States Congress has sent a letter to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), requesting the agency elaborate on its regulations regarding Industrial hemp processing. The lawmakers are concerned the agency’s rules were not favorable to producers and may violate the Controlled Substances Act.
The members of the House of Representatives and the Senate recently sent two letters to the DEA concerning the provisions of the agency’s Interim Final Rule. The lawmakers warn that the IFR treats hemp as a controlled substance if it happens to go beyond the prescribed 0.3% THC limit during the production process.
According to the lawmakers, the Interim Final Rule, introduced in August this year, appears to be at odds with the 2018 Farm Bill, which has since removed hemp and its extracts from the US Controlled Substances Act by federally legalizing the plant.
The DEA’s controversial rule declares that cannabis and its known strains, derivatives, or products exceeding the prescribed THC threshold of 0.3% is considered a Schedule I controlled substance regardless of whether the original plant contained no more than 0.3% D9-THC as dry weight.
Industry experts are worried that the rule is unreasonable since it’s impossible to maintain a 0.3% THC limit every step of the way during the hemp extraction process. Spikes in THC levels are regular occurrences, especially when extracting for cannabinoids, including CBD.
The 0.3% THC threshold, as determined by the Farm Bill, places the restriction on the final consumer product and not products still in the manufacturing process.
In an October 22 letter, Senators Jeffrey Merkley and Ron Wyden wrote that during the approval of the 2018 Farm Bill by Congress, it was clearly understood that intermediary stages of hemp processing could cause temporary spikes in THC concentration beyond 0.3%, which is why the definition Congress adopts is based on the delta-9 THC level.
In a second letter to the agency, the lawmakers wrote that the IFR appears to have disregarded clear legislative intent as stipulated in the Farm Bill.