DEA affirms hemp’s new status, sends notice that plant is legal

Published August 26, 2019

More than six months after hemp was made legal in the United States, federal drug authorities have updated their guidance to remind law enforcement that hemp is no longer a controlled substance.

A notice posted Monday by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) cited the 2018 Farm Bill in noting that “certain forms of cannabis no longer require DEA registration to grow or manufacture.”

The agency went on to say that “hemp, including hemp plants and cannabidiol (CBD) preparations at or below the 0.3 percent delta-9 THC threshold is not a controlled substance.”

The DEA notice didn’t change the law or make hemp legal; that occurred last year.

But because the agency had yet to remind national law enforcement through its regular bulletins that hemp is legal, some hemp businesses found themselves fighting legal confusion about the plant’s status.

Attorneys who represent hemp clients told Hemp Industry Daily that the DEA statement is an overdue affirmation of cannabis legality.

The DEA also announced Monday that it will expand research on higher-THC varieties of cannabis classified as marijuana.

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