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Leafly reports that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has issued a notice in the Federal Register establishing a new drug code for “marihuana extract”. This move will allow the Agency to track extracts separately from cannabis.

According to the Federal Registry entry:

“To better track these materials and comply with treaty provisions, DEA is creating a separate code number for marihuana extract with the following definition: ‘Meaning an extract containing one or more cannabinoids that has been derived from any plant of the genus Cannabis, other than the separated resin (whether crude or purified) obtained from the plant.’ Extracts of marihuana will continue to be treated as Schedule I controlled substances.”

The most important bit of this change in rulemaking can be found in its final sentence. Industrial hemp and marijuana are both members of cannabis genus, though the former generally has little or no THC content. This last sentence makes it clear that any extract, whether it contains THC or not. Under this rule clarification, CBD oils, even if extracted from THC-free industrial hemp, remains unambiguously illegal.

We try to avoid outright editorializing at the Daily Leaf, but we’re disheartened by this unnecessary and counterproductive move. Given the substantial indications that CBD may treat a wide range of ailments and the substance’s non-psychoactive status, we see no compelling case to restrict this substance. Whatever one beliefs about cannabis prohibition, it is abundantly clear that laws restricting marijuana were never put in place to prevent access to non-psychoactive compounds within the plant. Moreover, this rule may further restrict the venues in which research into CBD based treatments may be conducted as well as the sources of funding that might be available.

Oh, and one more thing. Does the DEA seriously still use the “marihuana” spelling? Talk about Reefer Madness.