Yesterday the DEA published a final rule providing for a new drug code for “Marihuana Extract” . The DEA states that this will allow them to track quantities of “Marihuana Extract” separately from marijuana to aid in the compliance with relevant drug treaties. This new rule is set to become effective on January 13, 2017. The DEA’s new definition for “Marihuana Extract” includes: “an extract containing one or more cannabinoids that has been derived from any plant of the genus Cannabis, other than the separated resin (whether crude or purified) obtained from the plant.”

What does this mean?

Fundamentally this does not represent a change in federal law, as cannabinoids extracted from “marihuana” (as defined in the CSA) are federally illegal. However, the plain language of the new definition does appear to expand the CSA’s reach to cover cannabinoids extracted from the genus Cannabis not just “marihuana”. This means that cannabis businesses that have imported permissible parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., are now also likely prohibited from extracting cannabinoids from such plant material.

NOTE: Given the varied implications, my firm is further analyzing the implications to the cannabis and pharmaceutical industries. We will provide an update when appropriate.