DEA Says Cannabis Seeds Below Cannabinoid Limit Are Legal Under Hemp Bill
In the past, cannabis growers had to be careful about how they acquired their seeds. Because of federal laws, the production and distribution of cannabis seeds were heavily restricted within the United States. Now, with changing attitudes and regulations surrounding marijuana, growers may be able to source seeds from all over the nation without worrying about breaking the law.Read More About Cannabis Laws
A recent letter from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) shed light on the 2018 Farm Bill and its application to cannabis seeds, clones, and other marijuana products. This clarification opens up a world of possibilities within the cannabis industry and allows growers to access a wider variety of strains than ever before.
Clarification From the DEA
The DEA clarified that:
- Cannabis Seeds that contain less than 0.3 percent of restricted cannabinoids are not controlled under the Controlled Substance Act.
- Tissue cultures and other cannabis-derived materials that contain less that 0.3 percent are not controlled under the CSA.
The Farm Bill effectively legalized the production and distribution of hemp; however, it did little to address the legality of marijuana. Many marijuana products, such as seeds, clones, and tissue cultures, fall within the cannabinoid limit imposed by the bill. Because these products contain less than 0.3 percent of restricted cannabinoids, are they now legal on a federal level?
These questions were finally addressed in a January 2022 letter from the DEA. The agency affirmed that:
“Marihuana seed that has a delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis meets the definition of ‘hemp’ and thus is not controlled under the CSA.”
The DEA went on to clarify that:
“Other material that is derived or extracted from the cannabis plant such as tissue culture and any other genetic material that has a delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis meets the definition of ‘hemp’ and thus is not controlled under the CSA.”
This statement from the DEA has far-reaching implications for the cannabis industry, as a host of marijuana products are now legal under federal law.
The Downfall of the Cannabis Industry
Legislations that stifled the cannabis industry:
- Marihuana Tax Act of 1937: Marijuana became illegal in the United States
- Controlled Substances Act of 1970: Marijuana was classified as a Schedule I substance
With the passage of the Marihuana Tax Act in 1937, the possession or transfer of marijuana became illegal throughout the United States. This law effectively stopped the cannabis industry in its tracks, and for the next few decades, there was little to no legal cannabis cultivation taking place in the country.
In 1970, the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) was passed, which classified marijuana as a Schedule I drug, putting it in the same category as heroin and LSD. This made cannabis cultivation and possession even more restricted and further stifled the industry.
The Return of the Hemp Industry
Recent changes in Cannabis Law:
- Recreational Marijuana: Legalized in 2012 in Colorado and Washington
- 2018 Farm Bill: legalized hemp and hemp products
In recent years, attitudes and laws surrounding cannabis have begun to shift. In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize recreational marijuana, and since then, many states have followed suit. As of 2022, a total of 37 states have legalized some form of cannabis, whether it be medical or recreational.
After more than 80 years of prohibition, the passage of the Farm Bill in 2018 removed hemp and hemp products from schedule I of the CSA. This bill defined “hemp” as any cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3 percent of restricted cannabinoids. Although the bill helped reignite the hemp industry, it brought about numerous questions for marijuana users and cultivators.
The Future of the Cannabis Industry
This clarification from the DEA may bring about:
- Broader access to cannabis genetics
- More opportunities for marijuana businesses
- Changes in state, local, and municipal marijuana laws
With the recent clarification by the DEA about the legality of marijuana , cannabis seed banks can now operate in the USA without fear of breaking federal laws. This could lead to many advancements in the cannabis industry, such as more financing options for businesses and easier access to cannabis genetics for growers and breeders.
Now that cannabis growers can purchase seeds and clones from other states, they are no longer limited to the strains that are available in their local areas. This could lead to a boom in the cannabis industry, as breeders will be able to experiment with a wider variety of genetics and create new strains with unique flavors and effects.
This change in regulation could give marijuana seed banks access to financing options that are currently restricted. With the ability to take out business loans, seed banks around the nation could expand their operations and invest more in their products and services.
The DEA’s statement may also help change state, local, and municipal laws on marijuana products. The DEA sets the tone for drug legislation throughout the United States. Seeing the agency relax its stance on marijuana products may encourage states and municipalities to follow suit.
The team at Greenpoint Seeds is thrilled to have clarification from the DEA about the legality of marijuana seeds. Since we started the company in 2014, our goal has been to give growers access to the best cannabis genetics at the lowest prices. With fewer restrictions in the industry, we hope to use this opportunity to help more growers around the nation get the seeds they need to cultivate high-quality cannabis. The marijuana industry has more potential than ever before, and we’re excited to be along for the journey.
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