In December 2016 the DEA quietly made a final rule criminalizing marijuana extract. Being hazy in its wording the agency went on to clarify that it was based on the DEA’s own interpretation of what they deem marijuana extracts from mature cannabis, leaving many in the industry scrambling to understand the language in the bill. With such a blossoming industry and so many different avenues of business being opened, especially in the extraction sector, it had people across the landscape of the cannabis industry extremely concerned and tuned with the legal perimeters of extraction.
Lawyers filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of the Hemp Industry Associations, Century Natural Foods and RHM Holdings LLC, which was intended to protect an American agricultural revival. Attorney Bob Hoban says the entire industry hinges on this. These type of laws that were put in place are not being monitored by the ones who actually resale, cultivate and consuming cannabis. This final rule on the criminalization of cannabis threatens thousands of growing businesses with massive economic expansion opportunities. All trying to conduct lawful business under the existing policy, then having the rug pulled out from underneath them as the DA and federal government decides on how they want to go about changing cannabis law for their own liking.
The DEA’s criminalization law is now up to the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals to make a decision whether to determine the hemp industries course regarding the 2014 Obama Farm Bill. Only a handful of states in the western United States would be legally binding to a decision from the Ninth Circuit, but it would clear up the wording of the bill and make clear what is legal and what is not legal.
The industry will carry on and continue to evolve and push the revolution forward. A series of pilot programs have been put in place in American farms showing just how profitable and durable the marijuana crop can be. Before prohibition in 1937, cannabis was the leading crop in the world and ours was considered the best. TheHemp Business Journal calculated last year that the industry brought in $888 million in US sales. That’s in the legal business sector, that’s not including the black make sales in the billions and legal CBD products accounted for $130 million of those sales. While we wait to see what happens federally, the cannabis industry will fight to continue to grow research and legalization.