Updates to the Schedule 1 Classification Make Medical Marijuana Delivery Across State Lines Illegal
Posted on January 24, 2017 by Jeffrey FeilerOn December 16, 2016 the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) clarified that marijuana extracts – including cannabidiol (CBD) – fall under their Schedule 1 drug classification, making all forms of the plant criminally illegal under Federal law. The move was made by the DEA creating a new category making all cannabinoids illegal Schedule 1 substances while maintaining that Marijuana, THC and Resins remain illegal under Schedule 1 but in a different category number. As your Miami medical marijuana lawyer, it's important to note the challenges this presents.
The DEA claims that the move is being done to aid in research and conform to International Treaties. The practical effect, however, makes it a Federal crime for cannabinoids such as CBD to cross State lines. At this time, many companies are selling CBD oils on the internet and delivering them to fill orders across State lines. Only 28 States and Washington DC have Medical Marijuana laws permitting licensed businesses in their State. Federal policy at the moment prohibits the Prosecution of licensed State marijuana businesses. So, as a practical matter, cannabinoids extracted in a legal State and distributed only within that State are exempt. However, all of the Patients in States not having medical marijuana laws and thereby no means to lawfully produce the extracts within their State can no longer receive their CBD from outside the State. Essentially a large number of patients can no longer lawfully receive CBD from out of state.
An interesting ambiguity is whether cannabinoids derived from hemp are now illegal and hence, whether they are prohibited from interstate or international distribution. Since Hemp is considered to be from the genus "cannabis" and since any cannabinoid which has been extracted is illegal, logic would dictate that therefore even cannabinoids extracted from Hemp would qualify as a Schedule 1 substances. There may very well be the need for judicial interpretation. By analogy, in the past the DEA made THC illegal, however a California Federal Appeals Court ruled that although Hemp contained a trace amount of THC, the DEA would not be allowed to consider that plant to be illegal as the amount was so low that it was not truly intended to be included as illegal.
CBD (Cannabidiol) is the leading cannabinoid being used as medical marijuana in the United States. It has proven effective in conditions such as Intractable Childhood Epilepsy substantially reducing the number of seizures and muscle spasms. Typically it is used in a ratio containing such a small amount of THC that it has no euphoric effect such as "getting high". Known brands such as Charlotte's Web and Hailey's Hope utilize such a formula. It is well documented that children having several hundred seizures per day have been reduced to one or two per day thereby enabling them to have quality of life that could not previously enjoy. Nevertheless, despite all of this anecdotal evidence, the DEA continues to maintain the "flat earth" mentality that Marijuana has no medicinal value. And, since it is Schedule 1, no medical studies are allowed, completing the vicious circle of lack of evidence where no evidence can be gathered. The DEA claims they plan to allow studies by a few licensed entities in the future.
For further information about this subject, contact Feiler Marijuana Law at (305) 662-5663.