The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) ruled earlier this week that delta-8 THCO and delta-9 THCO hemp are controlled substances and illegal under federal law, even if they are made from legal hemp. Both cannabinoids, which do not occur naturally but can be made from hemp, have become popular in some markets around the country, particularly in states that have not legalized adult use of cannabis.
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp and products derived from it, leading to a surge in cultivation of the crop as growers and processors sought to capitalize on consumer interest in CBD. Since then, products made with the new cannabinoid delta-8 THC, which occurs naturally in hemp in trace amounts and can be made with high amounts of CBD, have also become popular. Last year, a federal court ruled that delta-8-THC is legal when derived from hemp. Products containing intoxicating cannabis have become popular coast-to-coast, with availability at specialty stores, convenience stores, and gas stations, among other retailers.
In 2022, attorney Rod Kite sent a letter to the DEA inquiring about the legal status of delta-8 THCO and delta-9 THCO, According to a report from Marijuana moment. After he reiterated the request earlier this month, the DEA sent Kite a reply letter on February 13, saying that the two cannabinoids “do not occur naturally in the hemp plant and can only be obtained synthetically, and therefore do not fall within the definition of hemp.” .
in the letterWritten by Terrence L. Boss, Chief of Drug and Chemical Evaluation for the Drug Enforcement Administration Division of Diversion Control, states that “delta-9-TCO and delta-8-TCHO are THCs that have chemical structures and pharmacological activities similar to those of the cannabis plant. Thus, delta- 9-THCO and delta-8-THCO meet the definition of “tetrahydrocannabinol,” and the control (and products containing delta-9-THCO and delta-8-TCHO) are Schedule I “federally controlled substances” represents.
In a blog post about the letter from the DEA, Kate Books “While I don’t always agree with the DEA’s view on cannabis matters, I do agree with that view and, frankly, I’m not surprised. That’s what I’ve been saying for a while. I’ve been concerned about THCO ester build-up for a while from Time. It’s always been my opinion that THCO is a controlled substance under federal law. Although it can be made from cannabinoids from hemp, THCO is not naturally expressed by the cannabis plant. It’s a lab-made that doesn’t occur in nature, at least not from the cannabis plant “.
Sean Hauser, partner at the drug and cannabis law firm Vicente Sederberg LLP, says the DEA ruling does not affect the regulated cannabis industry due to the plant’s continued illegality under federal law. However, this decision could lead states to only allow industrial hemp under the Cannabis Regulations instead of under the Hemp Regulations.
Definition Needed About the Term “Synthetic” Cannabinoids
This decision is also significant because although the DEA was clear in its interim final rule implementing the 2018 Farm Act that the agency did not consider “synthetic” hemp products to be legal hemp and were therefore illegal federally controlled substances, the definition of the term “synthetic” where The term is applied to cannabinoids. Without further clarification or enforcement action, Hauser notes, the temporary final rule has created confusion among industry and consumers about the legality of the new cannabinoids that do not occur naturally in the cannabis plant.
“This federal uncertainty and a growing and innovative cannabis market has led states to take different approaches as to how they define and regulate industrial cannabinoids, and has created significant confusion for industry, consumers, and regulators regarding the legality and safety of certain products,” Hauser says. While this provides some long-overdue clarity on the illegality of some cannabis It does not happen naturally plant under the Controlled Substances Act, this decision underscores the chaos created by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Food and Drug Administration in failing to appropriately regulate both synthetic and natural cannabinoids to ensure consumer safety.”
Advocates contend that consumer and producer confusion about the legality of the new cannabis could be eliminated through federal legalization of marijuana. Once the ban is lifted and natural cannabis is made available to the public, demand for the new, intoxicating cannabis will likely dry up.
“Whether synthetic or naturally occurring, psychoactive cannabinoids must be responsibly regulated to protect public health and safety,” said Aaron Smith, CEO of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), in a statement. “The only way to successfully achieve this end is to finally end national prohibition, enact reasonable regulations at the federal level and allow state cannabis laws to continue to operate across the country.”