A controversial opinion statement from the Drug Enforcement Agency has drawn criticism from all corners of the hemp and cannabis industries, with some going so far as to claim the statement violates the laws prohibiting the use of federal funds to interfere with the transportation, processing, and use of legally grown industrial hemp.
The DEA statement seems focused on the Controlled Substances Act of 1971, ignoring more recent legislature which contradicts or overrides the CSA—sometimes specifically in reference to industrial CBD hemp. Joel Stanley, CEO of CW Hemp, wrote a thorough rebuttal of the DEA’s statement for the Cannabist.
In his response to the DEA’s statement, Joel Stanley directly disputed several key claims made by the DEA.
DEA claim: The production and marketing of Charlotte’s Web and CBD oil violate the Controlled Substances Act and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
Stanley pointed to Section 7607 of the Agricultural Act of 2014, also known as the Farm Bill, to dispute this claim. The bill specifically indicates that Federal laws in general and the CSA, in particular, will not be applied to industrial hemp, which is defined and legalized for domestic growth and marketing later in the bill.
DEA claim: Charlotte’s Web and similar products are produced illicitly by clandestine manufacturers, resulting in uncertainty about the contents of the final product.
Charlotte’s Web products are produced in an FDA-registered lab which has been certified for cGMP compliance. The company also hosts state officials and guests from other regulatory bodies at its facilities in the interest of transparency.
DEA claim: Charlotte’s Web and CBD oil, in general, are Schedule I controlled substances under the CSA.
Stanley argues in response to this claim that as the CSA does not name hemp, cannabinoids, or cannabidiol as substances to be controlled under the auspices of the act, it would take an act of Congress to make this statement from the DEA true. In the absence of such an act, wholesale CBD remains uncovered by the CSA.
DEA claim: Charlotte’s Web is being administered to pediatric research subjects in defiance of FDA regulations.
The only research on Charlotte’s Web conducted in the United States is observational, meaning researchers analyze data produced by voluntary users of the product. This is firmly within the limits of the law. Traditional clinical research on Charlotte’s Web takes place exclusively in countries where such research is wholly legal.
DEA claim: Charlotte’s Web isn’t produced in compliance with the Agricultural Act of 2014 because the law only refers to universities and other research projects.
Joel Stanley pointed to the full text of the Farm Bill and the Appropriations Acts of 2016 and 2017 to rebut this claim. His company’s products are produced under appropriate licensure by the departments of agriculture in relevant states, as stipulated in the Farm Bill, and the Appropriations Acts indicate that legally compliant industrial hemp is intended to be transported, processed, and sold.
Joel Stanley finished his rebuttal by reconfirming his company’s intent to develop its Charlotte’s Web products and forward its research on the medical applications of cannabinoids within the limits of the law while fighting against overreach from the DEA and other groups.