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FDA is the New DEA

Say what you will about the Stanley Brothers and Charlotte’s Web, but they were the only ones to see the problem of FDA and CBD while everyone else was distracted by DEA, which actually had no jurisdiction on hemp due to a 2004 court ruling.

As early as 2014 I was reminding people that DEA was not the relevant agency to be worried about, FDA was and any hemp legalization bill needed to address that reality. My fear was exactly what happened: FDA would create Prohibition 2.0 for hemp’s value-driver, CBD. After the 2018 Farm Bill passed we saw FDA become the new DEA when it comes to CBD because it wasn’t handled properly by “our” lobbyists, the same ones who ignored Tribes in the 2014 version.

The language they used in the CW bill HR1635, and should have been used in the Farm Bills, was: “The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 301 et seq.) shall not apply to cannabidiol or cannabidiol-rich plants as those terms are defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802) as amended by this Act.

Notice there’s no use of the “H” word in the “Charlotte’s Web Medical Access Act of 2015,” just as the word was not in the Controlled Substances Act banning hemp. No wonder all the hemp organizations hated it so, they wanted glory, fame, and fortune. They needed the easiest bill possible for a quick “win” in a desperate bid to prove relevance after years of dragging their feet to protect member investments in Canadian hemp. Ironically, despite Sen. Paul carrying a fiber/seed hemp legalization bill every session since 2005, it was only when the CBD market took off that it finally passed, in 2018.

In fact, they hated it so much that even though HR1635 was seven times more likely to pass, they kept pushing HR525, which would have legalized less than 7% of today’s hemp (only fiber and seed). That’s so on-brand for HIA, in 2003 they sued DEA for legalizing 98% of all hemp products, no max THC. While HR1635 doesn’t specifically mention hemp, the definition is in fact of hemp, low-THC Cannabis since almost all hemp contains ~20 times more CBD than THC.

HR1635 was a far better bill than the one we ended up with in 2018 as it didn’t ban drug felons and didn’t require non-decarboxylation THC testing methods.

Here are the details from Govtrack.us:

H.R. 1635: Charlotte’s Web Medical Access Act of 2015

17% chance of getting past committee [HR525 was 2%]
7% chance of being passed [HR525 was 1%]

A BILL

To amend the Controlled Substances Act to exclude cannabidiol and cannabidiol-rich plants from the definition of marihuana, and for other purposes.

  1. Short title
    This Act may be cited as the Charlotte’s Web Medical Access Act of 2015.
  2. Exclusion of cannabidiol and cannabidiol-rich plants from definition of marihuana
    (a) In general

Section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802) is amended in paragraph (16)—

(1) by striking (16) The and inserting (16)(A) The; and
(2) by adding at the end the following:
(B) Cannabidiol and cannabidiol-rich plants—
(i) are excluded from the definition of marihuana under subparagraph (A); and
(ii) shall not be treated as controlled substances under this Act.

(b) Definitions
Section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802), as amended, is further amended by adding at the end the following:

(57) The term cannabidiol-rich plant means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.

(58) The term cannabidiol means the substance cannabidiol, as derived from a cannabidiol-rich plant.

  1. Other limitations
    (a) Non-Applicability of Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act
    The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 301 et seq.) shall not apply to cannabidiol or cannabidiol-rich plants as those terms are defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802) as amended by this Act.

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