A quick followup to some of my recent Cannabis Musings about the Drug Enforcement Agency’s recent interim final rulemaking about hemp. (link; link) LA Weekly posted an article earlier this week that they reached out to the DEA about the new rules, particularly asking about the DEA’s position on hot WIPHE (which is still fun to say out loud). (link) The reporting is worth quoting in its entirety:

The DEA’s spokesman, Special Agent Sean Mitchell, kept it brief and first spoke to the general panic of the last week. “The DEA is aware of the concerns of the CBD industry, and is evaluating policy options,” he told L.A. Weekly in a phone interview.

We asked if things went the way the industry feared, what would enforcement even look like? Specifically asking about the idea of the agency shutting down machinery in the middle of processing material to check if the contents had spiked over the legal THC threshold.

“The United States is in the midst of an opioid epidemic fueled by fentanyl and is seeing a strong resurgence of methamphetamine. DEA is focusing its resources on disrupting and dismantling the Mexican cartels that are trafficking these deadly substances into and across the nation,” Mitchell replied to the question.

Needless to say, neither of these statements – the perfunctory acknowledgement of the industry’s response and the hint about enforcement priorities – come as a surprise to me. To me, this discourse is important not just for the sake of the hemp industry - it sets the stage for the likely broader conversations the industry and the government are going to have if and when non-hemp cannabis is descheduled.