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New DEA Marijuana Extract Code Poses No New Threat to the Legal Pot Industry

The DEA's ability to interfere with legal marijuana is limited – for now.

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This week, the DEA published a final rule on the “Establishment of a New Drug Code for Marijuana Extract.” Although it sounds ominous, all that this rule does is create a new tracking code number for “Marihuana Extracts.” Previously, any marijuana extracts, including cannabinoids, were classified under the “Marihuana” tracking code, but now extracts will be registered under a new code number. The DEA explain that “the only direct effect to registrants who handle marihuana extracts will be the requirement to add the new drug code to their registrations.”

Although the new rule does explicitly state that marijuana extracts, including CBD, are illegal, it has not created any new laws or regulations that give the DEA additional powers to prosecute users or growers of legal marijuana.  Last year, the DEA was defunded Congress in order to prevent them from enforcing federal marijuana laws on states that have legalized the drug. This summer, the 9th U.S. District Court of Appeals ruled that the Department of Justice couldn’t spend money to prosecute federal marijuana cases when the defendants are complying with state marijuana laws.

These restrictions on the DEA's power to interfere with the legal marijuana industry are likely to remain in effect for 2017, but after that, it's up to Donald Trump and his new Cabinet.

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