DEA Says THCA Not Legal Under Federal Law

While federal lawmakers consider banning most hemp-derived cannabinoid products, the hemp industry is facing another potential threat after a DEA official said the federal 0.3% delta-9 THC cap also applies to delta-9 THCA, which is a similar compound.

Full story after the jump.

A top official at the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently wrote in a letter that the federal 0.3% cap on delta-9 THC in hemp-based products also applies to delta-9 THCA, which is a similar cannabinoid, Marijuana Moment reports. THCA is typically created by decarboxylating (or heating up) the more well-known cannabinoid delta-9 THC.

Terrence Boos, chief of DEA’s drug and chemical evaluation section, confirmed in a letter on May 13 — written in response to a query by attorney Shane Pennington about the federal legality of delta-9 THCA — that the agency believes the 0.3% THC cap also applies to THCA.

“In regards to THCA, Congress has directed that, when determining whether a substance constitutes hemp, the delta-9 THC concentration is to be tested ‘using post-decarboxylation or other similarly reliable methods. The ‘decarboxylation’ process converts delta-9-THCA to delta-9-THC. Thus, for the purposes of enforcing the hemp definition, the delta-9 THC level must account for any delta-9 THCA.” — Boos, in the letter, via Marijuana Moment

Hemp industry advocates say the interpretation could be disastrous for hemp producers and manufacturers.

“Most hemp growers, even fiber and grain growers, would be out of compliance,” Jonathan Miller, general counsel for the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, said in the report.

The DEA statement comes as federal lawmakers consider an outright ban on most hemp-derived THC products per an amendment added to the House’s version of the national Farm Bill last week. The amendment would re-word the 2018 Farm Bill, which federally legalized industrial hemp and all of its derivatives, to specify there are only two types of legal hemp products: those that contain non-intoxicating, hemp-derived cannabinoids; and those containing hemp-derived fiber and food products.

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