What impact would the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) rules have on the CBD industry if they were enacted in their current form?

First it’s important to note that the DEA proposals are only in a draft form and are open to comment until 20th October. They have already received a large number of comments, the majority of which appear to be criticising aspects of the proposed regulatory regime that have raised hackles among the industry.

Beyond that, there is a certain degree of risk if the proposed regime was to become the regulation without any change. The 0.3% THC limit applying throughout the extraction process would create difficulties for many in the industry. These are not insurmountable – new varieties and different extraction methods mean it is technically possible for extractors to adhere to the limit throughout the extraction process.

But the way the system is currently set up means this is impossible for the majority and attempting to fix that would require a complete rethink from the planting of seeds onward. It would also mean untold amounts of lost money wasted on now redundant machinery for processes that do not keep the THC limit under 0.3% THC.

Beyond that it would also seemingly mean the end of certain small niche products such as hemp-derived Delta 8THC which has been seemingly growing in popularity among a small group of consumers and producers.

But some of the wider warnings – such as the language around synthetics potentially applying to any human intervention in the process – are likely overblown even in the worst case scenario. Human intervention in areas such as converting CBD-A or CBG to CBD are unlikely to meet even the broadest definition of synthetic brought into force by the DEA as these are processes that can happen naturally but work better under the control and oversight of human intervention.

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