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DEA Says CBD and Other Marijuana Extracts Are Illegal

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on February 10, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

We all know that marijuana is illegal under federal law. (Or at least most of us know that.) And even with all these states passing recreational use laws, the feds aren't interested in legalizing it. But there was some disagreement about CBD oil and other cannabis-based extracts that lack the THC to get users high and are used primarily in medical cases.

Well, that confusion was put to rest recently when the DEA added an additional code to the Federal Register, clarifying that any extract of the marijuana plant falls under the Schedule I classification, and thus remains illegal.

Cannabiz Confusion

As the helpful folks at Canna Law Blog point out, the uncertainty regarding CBD was spawned from the distinction between marijuana and hemp under federal drug and agriculture legislation:

The Controlled Substances Act does not include in its definition of "marijuana" the plant's "mature stalks." Mature stalks are the part of the cannabis plant used to make hemp, which is not prohibited by the Controlled Substances Act either. The stalks also contain CBD oil that can be extracted and used just the same as CBD derived from other parts of the plant. The ambiguity was enlarged with the passage of the 2014 farm bill, which allowed some cultivation of hemp with THC levels below 0.3%.

So some retailers, even in states that still prohibit even medical marijuana, were nonetheless selling CBD oil and other extracts under the impression that federal drug prohibitions didn't apply.


That legal ambiguity has since been removed. "Extracts of marihuana will continue to be treated as Schedule I controlled substances," the DEA concluded, making illegal any "extract containing one or more cannabinoids that has been derived from any plant of the genus Cannabis, other than the separated resin (whether crude or purified) obtained from the plant."

So if there are any pot shops out there who thought they found a legal loophole to selling low-THC extracts, you might want to reconsider.

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