Update from D.C.: The Latest on Marijuana Rescheduling and the Farm Bill

There were two major cannabis policy developments from Washington, D.C. last week: language of the proposed rule for rescheduling became available (accompanied by a video from the President reaffirming his commitment to reform) and the long anticipated text of the farm bill was released.

The text of the proposed rule confirmed that the Attorney General is seeking to move marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to Schedule III. Doing so would provide tax parity for the cannabis industry by ensuring legal businesses would no longer be subject to an arcane provision of the U.S. tax code — Section 280E — that prohibits deductions associated with “drug trafficking.”

The Department of Justice asked for public comment on various topics, including:

  • Facts and expert opinion on different forms, formulations, and delivery methods
  • Dosage and concentration information
  • Data on marijuana constituents, routes of administration, and impact of Delta-9 THC potency
  • Information regarding the scope, duration, and significance of marijuana abuse
  • Comments on the practical consequences of rescheduling marijuana to Schedule III under the relevant statutory frameworks 
  • Comments on the economic impact of the proposed rule 
  • Information on how rescheduling may impact “small entities”

The public comment period is officially open and will conclude on July 22. NCIA will be submitting comments during the rulemaking period on behalf of the hundreds of small businesses we represent in the legal cannabis industry. 

In addition to this exciting announcement, the House Agriculture Committee also released the text of the overdue 2023 farm bill (the bill’s original deadline was September 30, 2023, but was extended for one year). 

Included in the bill is language regarding hemp and hemp production. The 2018 farm bill legalized hemp by authorizing the production of hemp and removing hemp and hemp seeds from the CSA. Since then, the proliferation of hemp derived products containing various cannabinoids (CBD, Delta-8, THC-A, etc) has become commonplace. The increase of intoxicating products derived from hemp has concerned many — including those in Congress. 

During the Committee markup, an amendment was offered by Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL) that would federally ban all ingestible hemp products with any level of THC. The amendment passed via voice vote.

This is an area we at NCIA are keeping a close watch. As the association that represents the entire cannabinoid industry, we are urging Congress to eschew the failed policies of prohibition and to instead move to regulate hemp and marijuana-derived products equally.

Make sure you check out our brand new position paper “Navigating the Future of Cannabinoid Regulation: Balancing Safety, Innovation, and Consumer Access”, which delves into the complexities of cannabinoid production, differentiating between plant-extracted and synthesized cannabinoids. It also addresses the challenges posed by the current regulatory landscape and advocates for a common-sense federal framework that emphasizes safety, consistency, and quality across all cannabis-derived products.

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