Jeff Sessions Will Wage War on Marijuana as Attorney General—Let’s Stop Him!

No, the DEA Hasn’t Made CBD Oil Illegal… Yet

“People need to understand that there are federal laws that the DEA cannot bypass,” a hemp industry professional tells MintPress News regarding CBD oil.

December 28, 2016 
(MPN) Austin, TX An administrative change by the Drug Enforcement Administration has left users of CBD oil, a popular tincture derived from agricultural hemp, fearful that they could lose access to this vital health remedy.
CBD oil is currently considered legal in all 50 states, and agricultural hemp, a non-psychoactive variety of the cannabis plant from which CBD oil is extracted, is legally grown in many states. While scientific research into its benefits is just beginning, preliminary results show that CBD oil can benefit conditions ranging from epilepsy to chronic pain.

But on Dec. 14, the DEA added a notice to the Federal Register that quietly informed the public that it had established “a new drug code for marihuana extract.” The DEA’s argument is that the agency is entitled to regulate CBD oil because all extracts contain trace amounts of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis which remains illegal at the federal level.

Establishing this new drug code is, effectively, the first step toward classifying CBD oil alongside cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act. This act classifies cannabis as a Schedule 1 substance, alongside drugs like heroin which are considered to have no practical medical benefit.

However, legal experts and advocates for hemp doubt that the DEA has the mandate to easily ban CBD oil.

“They’re positioning themselves to potentially overstep their boundaries,” said John Ryan,  founder and director of Ananda Hemp, in an interview with MintPress News.

A subsidiary of the Australian hemp company EcoFibre Industries, Ananda Hemp produces CBD oil from the hundreds of acres of hemp the company grows in Kentucky and Tennessee.

Ryan stressed that CBD oil is not going to “vanish overnight.” He continued:

“People need to understand that there are federal laws that the DEA cannot bypass. If they do, they can expect legal challenges from the industry.”

While Ryan expressed serious concerns about the DEA’s move, he said he believes the agency would struggle to make hemp illegal under current laws, thanks to multiple protections put in place by Congress. Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill legalized hemp cultivation in the United States as part of five-year, state-regulated pilot programs. Subsequent additions to the 2015 and 2016 Congressional Appropriations Act prohibited the DEA from going after the products produced under these pilot programs.

Ryan added that these appropriations acts “clearly contain language that permits the interstate transit and commerce of these products under the guise that it’s initial market research under the five-year pilot program.”

Indeed, the Denver-based Hoban Law Firm has already promised to challenge the DEA if it tried to ban CBD. On Thursday, Robert Hoban, the firm’s managing partner, called the new classification “an invalid rule” in an interview with Fox 31 Denver. He continued:

“At the end of the day, the DEA needs to sit down, read the Controlled Substances Act, read the farm bill and understand that what they’re saying has practical implications on commerce and on patients around this country. That’s not weight they should throw around so lightly.”

Speaking to MintPress, Ryan was critical of some media outlets for jumping to conclusions about the DEA ruling, which he said creates unnecessary fear among CBD oil users.

For example, Leafly, a popular cannabis news and information website, declared on Dec. 14, “New DEA Rule Says CBD Oil is Really, Truly, No-Joke Illegal.”

“Why don’t we focus more on letting the public know that they are protected?” asked Ryan.

The DEA’s threat against CBD oil is just the latest controversial move by the agency to target over-the-counter herbal remedies. In August, the DEA threatened to ban kratom, a popular treatment for both chronic pain and the withdrawal symptoms caused by addiction to opioid painkillers, only to suspend their efforts amid a wave of popular protest.


This article (No, the DEA Hasn’t Made CBD Oil Illegal… Yet) by Kit O’Connell originally appeared on MintPressNews.com and was used with permission. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email edits@theantimedia.org.

Reuters: After states legalized medical marijuana, traffic deaths fell

Legalization of medical marijuana is not linked with increased traffic fatalities, a new study finds. In some states, in fact, the number of people killed in traffic accidents dropped after medical marijuana laws were enacted.

“Instead of seeing an increase in fatalities, we saw a reduction, which was totally unexpected,” said Julian Santaella-Tenorio, the study’s lead author and a doctoral student at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York City.

Since 1996, 28 states have legalized marijuana for medical use.

Deaths dropped 11 percent on average in states that legalized medical marijuana, researchers discovered after analyzing 1.2 million traffic fatalities nationwide from 1985 through 2014.

The decrease in traffic fatalities was particularly striking – 12 percent – in 25- to 44-year-olds, an age group with a large percentage of registered medical marijuana users, the authors report in the American Journal of Public Health.

Though Santaella-Tenorio was surprised by the drop in traffic deaths, the results mirror the findings of another study of data from 19 states published in 2013 in The Journal of Law and Economics. It showed an 8 to 11 percent decrease in traffic fatalities during the first full year after legalization of medical marijuana.

“Public safety doesn’t decrease with increased access to marijuana, rather it improves,” Benjamin Hansen, one of the authors of the previous study, said in an email. Hansen, an economics professor at the University of Oregon in Eugene, was not involved in the current study.

He cautioned that both marijuana and alcohol are drugs that can impair driving.

It’s not clear why traffic deaths might drop when medical marijuana becomes legal, and the study can only show an association; it can’t prove cause and effect.

The authors of both studies suggest that marijuana users might be more aware of their impairment as a result of the drug than drinkers. It’s also possible, they say, that patients with access to medical marijuana have substituted weed at home for booze in bars and have stayed off the roads.

Or, they suggest, the drop in traffic fatalities could stem from other factors, such as an increased police presence following enactment of medical marijuana laws.

Law-enforcement authorities have yet to devise a way to test drivers for marijuana intoxication, and have raised concerns about drivers high on cannabis.

Though traffic deaths dropped following legalization of medical marijuana laws in seven states, fatality rates rose in Rhode Island and Connecticut, the study found.

California immediately cut traffic deaths by 16 percent following medical marijuana legalization and then saw a gradual increase, the study found. Researchers saw a similar trend in New Mexico, with an immediate reduction of more than 17 percent followed by an increase.

The findings highlight differences in various states’ medical marijuana laws and indicate the need for research on the particularities of how localities have implemented them, Santaella-Tenorio said.

Voters in Denver, Colorado approved a November ballot measure to allow public consumption of marijuana, Hansen noted. But, he said, “We don’t know the public health consequences of those types of policy changes yet.”

SOURCE: bit.ly/2igtabO American Journal of Public Health, online December 20, 2016.

DEA Absolutely Wrong In Making CBD Oil Schedule 1 Drug

CBD extracts with no THC now reclassified as on par with THC, heroin, LSD and peyote

Eddie left this in our comments:

When you consider that the federal government has a patent on these same canibinoids it’s no surprise to see the DEA and federal government commit violations of the RICO Act to protect “their” interests . This is clearly against federal law but who is going to charge the DEA and the federal government with fraud ?
Trump and Sessions will double down on marijuana prohibition and millions of Americans will find themselves going to prison private for profit prisons to work as slave labor .
That is unless you get up off the sofa and fight for your rights and what is right .
Organize resist fight it’s your only hope .

But the DEA may have acted outside its jurisdiction, Read on…

cannabis_oilFrom Activist Post By Makia Freeman

A CBD ban appears to have been put in place by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), an agency of the US Government. Two days ago on their website, they posted a notice that they had made a “new rule,” effective Dec. 14th 2016, to classify “marihuana extract” (their antiquated spelling, not mine) as a Schedule 1 drug. What this means is that CBD (cannabidiol) extracts which have trace amounts of, or absolutely no THC, and are therefore non-psychoactive, are now reclassified to be on par with psychoactive or THC-containing cannabis, heroin, LSD and peyote. Continue reading

Cannabis heals psoriasis

We made this blog post to answer a recent question from one of our readers, Frances. Hope this helps! Please leave any  questions in the comments area, and we’ll try to find an answer.

I am a senior, 77 yr. I have psoriasis very bad on feet,lots of days the pain is too bad to stand on feet. I also have psoriasis on arms, legs and my back. Will cannabis help east this terrible disease? Can I make cannabis oil and salve, if so, how to make and how to use the oil and salve? I don’t have any other medical problems, only this terrible itch and pain when feet crack, peel and bleed.

See also: Topical Cannabis Healing Salve


Via Psoriasis.org

Researchers have barely studied medical marijuana as a treatment for psoriatic disease. One study, published in 2007, showed that cannabis — the chemical compound in marijuana considered responsible for the pain-relieving effects — can inhibit the rapid growth of skin cells that leads to psoriasis lesions.

Scientists have researched marijuana as a treatment more for arthritis pain — though, not necessarily psoriatic arthritis pain. In 2013, a Chinese research team showed that cannabis was an effective treatment for the inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis. Continue reading

New DEA Rule Says CBD Oil is Really, Truly, No-Joke Illegal

Via Leafly

Note: This article contains an update on the legal status of CBD products, below the original text. 

The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) made CBD oil a little more federally illegal in a little-noticed bureaucratic maneuver this morning.

  
Today’s Federal Register (Dec. 14, 2016) contains an item (21 CFR Part 1308) that establishes a new drug code for “marihuana extract.”
“This code,” wrote DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg, “will allow DEA and DEA-registered entities to track quantities of this material separately from quantities of marihuana.” The move, the Register entry explained, is meant to bring the US into compliance with international drug-control treaties.
There is no major change in law brought about by the Register item. Rather, it serves to clarify and reinforce the DEA’s position on all cannabis extracts, including CBD oil. That position is: They are all federally illegal Schedule I substances. “Extracts of marihuana will continue to be treated as Schedule I controlled substances,” the notice says.
CBD oil derived from hemp is now commonly available nationwide via web sites and mail order services. Those operations survive on the assumption that cannabidiol products below the legal threshold for THC percentage in hemp (0.3 percent or less) are technically legal.
Not so, says the DEA.
In the DEA comment on the entry, Rosenberg directly addressed the question: What if it’s only cannabidiol (CBD) and no other cannabinoids? The agency’s response: “For practical purposes, all extracts that contain CBD will also contain at least small amounts of other cannabinoids. However, if it were possible to produce from the cannabis plant an extract that contained only CBD and no other cannabinoids, such an extract would fall within the new drug code” and therefore remain federally illegal. In other words: The DEA is confident that it can find enough traces of other cannabinoids in your CBD oil to arrest and prosecute. And if they can’t, they still have the option of arresting and prosecuting based on the CBD oil itself.
Is your CBD derived from hemp? Doesn’t matter to the DEA. The new extracts classification applies to all “extracts that have been derived from any plant of the genus Cannabis and which contain cannabinols and cannabidiols.” Hemp is not a separate genus. (Although it may be a separate species; lot of debate on that point.) Legally speaking, hemp is simply cannabis with no more than 0.3 percent THC content.
The new rule seems to clarify the DEA’s position on hemp-derived CBD, which entered a legal gray area following Congress’ passage of the 2014 farm bill. That legislation allowed certain states to grow hemp in pilot projects, and blocked federal law enforcement authorities (ie, the DEA) from interfering with state agencies, hemp growers, and agricultural research.
What DEA Administrator Rosenberg seems to be saying with this clarification is: You may be able to grow hemp. But if you try to extract CBD oil from it, the DEA considers that a federal crime.
The rule did not contain any hint as to when the DEA will step into the 21st century and stop using the archaic version of the word “marihuana.”

UPDATE
12/14/2016, 2:20pm PST

Although the DEA considers CBD oil to be a federally illegal Schedule I drug, there are temporary safeguards in place that protect patients in many states from federal prosecution over possession of the oil.
The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment is the most important of those protections. Originally passed in 2014, the amendment to a Congressional appropriations bill prohibits the Justice Department from spending funds to interfere with the implementation of state medical cannabis laws. (It is silent on adult-use laws.) In August, the federal 9th US Circuit Court upheld Rohrabacher-Farr in the face of a challenge brought by federal prosecutors. Leafly has an explanation of that case here.
The amendment is the chief piece of legislation preventing federal law enforcement officials from prosecuting patients for possessing CBD products in the 28 legal medical cannabis states, and the District of Columbia. In addition, 16 states have passed so-called CBD-only laws that allow patients and caregivers to possess non-psychoactive CBD products. Those CBD-only laws usually allow no legal avenue to produce or obtain the products, however.
Rohrabacher-Farr must be renewed every year. If it’s not, its safeguards disappear. The amendment was most recently renewed last Friday, Dec. 9, as part of the continuing House resolution known as HR 2028, which funds the federal government through April 28, 2017. When that resolution expires next April, so does the protections afforded by Rohrabacher-Farr. Unless it’s renewed once again.
Experts and industry react
It’s unclear whether today’s action is a signal from the DEA to the incoming Trump administration, or just a bit of shelf-clearing before DEA Administrator Rosenberg rides into the sunset with the rest of the Obama administration. This rule, after all, finalizes a proposed rulemaking notice that first appeared more than five years ago, on July 5, 2011.
Robert Hoban, a Colorado cannabis attorney and adjunct professor of law at the University of Denver, raised the notion that the rule itself may not be lawful. “This action is beyond the DEA’s authority,” Hoban told Leafly in an interview late this afternoon. “The DEA can only carry out the law, they cannot create it. Here they’re purporting to create an entirely new category called ‘marijuana extracts,’ and by doing so wrest control over all cannabinoids. They want to call all cannabinoids illegal. But they don’t have the authority to do that.”
The new DEA rule, Hoban said, may threaten hundreds, possibly thousands, of jobs and growing businesses. Those business owners based their investments and careers on previous definitions of hemp and cannabidiol in the Controlled Substances Act and modified by federal courts. And that’s where this latest turn of events could end up. “We will see the federal government in court,” Hoban said.