Washington, D.C.—The Natural Products Association (NPA) is raising concerns over proposals from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) that could place U.S. hemp and CBD manufacturers at a disadvantage to foreign competitors, according to a press release.

The release cites the proposed rule as saying: “a cannabis derivative, extract, or product that exceeds the 0.3% D9-THC limit is a schedule I controlled substance, even if the plant from which it was derived contained 0.3% or less D9-THC on a dry weight basis.”

NPA explains in their press release that the extraction process that removes cannabinoids from hemp often causes a temporary increase in the concentration of THC. Incomments to the DEA, NPA explains that this extract is an intermediate step, and would not be sold to consumers in that state; the extract would be diluted to a compliant level. However, the association notes that if having the undiluted substance is illegal, it would make hemp processors perpetually non-compliant with DEA regulations.

NPA says that placing these restrictions on U.S.-based hemp and CBD manufacturers would increase the reliance on products manufactured in China, where they can be made more cheaply.

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In the comments submitted to the DEA, NPA notes that there are three other changes to existing regulations, which NPA takes no issue with:
  1. It would add language stating that the definition of ‘tetrahydrocannabinols’ does not include any material, compound, mixture, or preparation that falls within the definition of hemp;
  2. It removes from control any FDA-approved drug products containing CBD derived from cannabis and no more than 0.1% residual THC;
  3. And it removes import and export controls over those same substances.
NPA writes in the comments that the fourth change—as described above—“would jeopardize the hemp and CBD industries.”

In the press release, Daniel Fabricant, President and CEO of NPA, stated: “These proposed rules would have a devastating impact on the domestic hemp and CBD industries. While other industries are looking to move away from a reliance on China, this proposed rule hurts American businesses. Rules like this one proposed further create an environment where our farmers, manufacturers, processors, and small businesses are at a competitive disadvantage to the Chinese.”