Key Takeaways for the Hemp Industry from the House's Draft Text for 2023 Farm Bill and DEA's Proposed Rules to Reschedule Marijuana

By Michelle Bodian

May 17, 2024

This was a big week for hemp (as well as marijuana)! The proposed rules to reschedule marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) were released and will be officially published in the federal register on May 21, 2024. The rules are subject to public comment and the comment period closes July 20, 2024. Additionally, the U.S. House of Representatives released draft text for the 2023 Farm Bill.

DEA’s Proposed Rules to Reschedule Marijuana Relevant to Hemp and Hemp Products

As related to hemp and hemp products, “hemp” as defined in federal law (7 USC 1639o) continues to be exempt from the CSA schedules. Notably the explanatory text to the rule states that those THCs "that can be derived only through a process of artificial synthesis (e.g., delta-10-tetrahydrocannabinol) are excluded. HHS provided a recommendation only relating to “marijuana” as defined in the CSA. That definition is limited to the plant (other than the mature stalks and seeds) and derivatives of the plant." 

This does not represent a policy change; however, the emphasis on "naturally derived delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinols" further highlights the DEA's outlook on synthetic cannabinoids.

House of Representatives Releases Draft Text for the 2023 Farm Bill

The House also released draft text for the 2023 Farm Bill, entitled the "Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024." We expect amendments to this text and still await the Senate’s version. A final version is still likely months away.

 A few key takeaways:

  • The definition of “hemp” remains the same  (the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.)

  • We have two new definitions - "hemp grown for cannabinoid extraction" vs "industrial hemp”

    • HEMP GROWN FOR CANNABINOID EXTRACTION.—The term ‘hemp grown for cannabinoid extraction’ means any hemp grown for purposes of extracting cannabinoids intended for human or animal consumption, inhalation, or topical use

    • INDUSTRIAL HEMP.—The term ‘industrial hemp’ means hemp— (A) grown for the use of the stalk of the plant, fiber produced from such a stalk, or any other non-cannabinoid derivative, mixture, preparation, or manufacture of such a stalk; ‘‘(B) grown for the use of the whole grain, oil, cake, nut, hull, or any other non- cannabinoid compound, derivative, mixture, preparation, or manufacture of the seeds of such plant; ‘‘(C) that is an immature hemp plant intended for human consumption ‘‘(D) that is a plant that does not enter the stream of commerce and is intended to support hemp research at an institution of higher education (as defined in section 101 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001)) or an independent research institute; or ‘‘(E) grown for the use of a viable seed of the plant produced solely for the production or manufacture of any material described in subparagraphs (A) through (D).

  • FDA has the authority to promulgate regulations and guidelines related to the "regulation of hemp-derived cannabinoid products"

  • Cultivation of “industrial hemp” will have fewer regulatory burdens

If you have questions about how these new federal laws and regulations will impact your business, please contact us! Our Hemp Team is here to assist.

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