For years, the law surrounding marijuana was pretty simple: it was illegal under both federal and California law. Then, in the 1970s, California took steps to decriminalize possession, and in the 1990s, became the first state to legalize the medical use of marijuana. And finally, in 2016, California joined the ranks of Colorado, Washington, and Oregon in fully legalizing the use of recreational marijuana. As a result of this growing acceptance of marijuana under state law, cultivators have become far more sophisticated than in the past, incorporating all types of bioengineering and manufacturing/production techniques to create new cannabis-based products. At the same time, however, marijuana has remained a Schedule I drug under federal law, with possession remaining a federal crime that can land you in federal prison for years. These competing forces of federal law and rapidly developing marijuana technology have come into conflict one again with the DEA’s recent announcement that all marijuana extracts, including cannabidiol (CBD), are Schedule I drugs, illegal under federal law.
What is CBD?
Marijuana, also called cannabis, contains a total of 113 “cannabinoids,” the most well-known of which is THC, the psychoactive compound which gives users the feeling of being “high.” But CBD, another cannabinoid, has become a hot property in recent years as researchers believe that it can have positive therapeutic effects for those suffering from epilepsy, arthritis, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and even cancer tumors.
CBD itself does not provide users with a psychoactive high, and marijuana engineering firms have developed numerous products in recent years with CBD but not THC to provide users with the therapeutic relief of CBD but not the psychoactive effect of THC. Some regions of the country such as Kentucky have even seen an influx of investment from such firms in the farming economy to produce more CBD.
The DEA’s Announcement on CBD and Marijuana Extracts
In December, the DEA announced that, effective January 13, 2017, a new designation under the federal drug laws would be created which would designate all “extracts” which contain “one or more cannabinoids that has been derived from any plant of the genus Cannabis” as Schedule I drugs. What this means is that the DEA considers CBD and other marijuana extracts (even those without THC) to be among the most dangerous drugs in the country, alongside heroin and LSD, and that cultivation, distribution, and possession of CBD will remain a federal crime.
While some have suggested that the DEA’s distinction on Schedule I between “marijuana” and “marijuana extracts” might mean the DEA is opening the way for legalizing some form of the latter, for the time being CBD and all other marijuana extracts remain illegal under federal law.
Experienced Criminal Defense in Your California Drug Matter
The experienced criminal defense attorneys at The Law Offices of Omar Gastelum and Associates, PLC, with offices in Los Angeles and Newport Beach, fight for the rights of defendants in criminal prosecutions and investigations across Southern California. For confidential legal advice in your DUI matter, contact our office today to schedule a consultation.