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DEA & THCA: "cannabis-derived THCA does not meet the definition of hemp"

Updated: May 28


DEA  & THCA: "cannabis-derived THCA does not meet the definition of hemp"

In a Letter to attorney Shane Pennington, the DEA Chief Terrence L. Boos, Ph.D. (Diversion Control Division, Drugs & Chemical Evaluation Section) outlines the control status of THCA or delta-9 THCA. Dr. Boos references the definitions of "tetrahydrocannabinols" and "hemp" and summarizes, as we've seen in previous letters, that THCs with not more than 0.3% are hemp and not controlled.


"naturally occurring tetrahydrocannabinols extracted from the cannabis plant that have a delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9-THC) concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis meet the definition of “hemp” and thus are not controlled under the CSA. Conversely, a naturally derived cannabinoid having a delta-9-THC concentration more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis is controlled in schedule I under the CSA as marihuana."

However, the letter continues that in the 2018 Farm Bill, Congress directed testing for delta-9 THC concentration using "post-decarboxylation or other similarly reliable methods", noting that decarboxylation 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 in a substance." Concluding that cannabis-derived THCA does not meet the definition of hemp.


Accordingly, cannabis-derived THCA does not meet the definition of hemp under the CSA because upon conversion for identification purposes as required by Congress, it is equivalent to delta-9-THC.

Read the full letter here.


This significant statement from the DEA will likely impact many businesses around the U.S. THCA is exciting, but you may face unexpected consequences. If you currently sell THCA, please ensure you have a knowledgeable attorney on your team to help you navigate these policy changes.


The EARTH Law, LLC team will strategically represent you and help your business.

Contact us 541-632-3946, info@earthlawllc.com





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