DEA Interim Final Rule: What Is “Synthetically Derived THC”?

On Friday, the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) released an Interim Final Rule (the “Rule”) that, as we discussed, threatens the hemp industry by treating partially processed hemp extract not intended for consumption (also known as “intermediary hemp”) as a Schedule I controlled substance. This is hugely problematic because intermediary hemp is an essential and necessary component of the industry.

In addition, the Rule addresses the legality of “synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinols,” which could also impact the hemp industry. Specifically, the Rule provides that:

For tetrahydrocannabinols that are naturally occurring constituents of the plant material, Cannabis sativa L., any material that contains 0.3% or less of D9 -THC by dry weight is not controlled, unless specifically controlled elsewhere under the CSA. Conversely, for tetrahydrocannabinols that are naturally occurring constituents of Cannabis sativa L., any such material that contains greater than 0.3% of D9 -THC by dry weight remains a controlled substance in schedule I. The [2018 Farm Bill] does not impact the control status of synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinols (for Controlled Substance Code Number 7370) because the statutory definition of “hemp” is limited to materials that are derived from the plant Cannabis sativa L. For synthetically derived tetrahydrocannabinols, the concentration of

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