A medical practitioner contacted the Network with a question regarding whether hemp oil was legal in Minnesota and if he could have it available in his clinic for his patients.
The legality of Cannabidiol (CBD) oil has caused significant controversy. In December 2016 the federal Drug Enforcement Administration promulgated a final rule clarifying that CBD oil is a marijuana derivative, and as such is listed as a Schedule I substance under the Federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.
In early 2017, the agency issued a clarification to the new rule specifically addressing the legal status of CBD oil. Essentially, the agency states that “cannabinoids are not found in the parts of the cannabis plant that are excluded from the CSA definition of marijuana,” and therefore they are listed on Schedule I. It should be noted that cannabis industry representatives have initiated a legal challenge to this determination, but as of now CBD remains illegal. In addition, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued dozens of warning letters to firms that market unapproved drugs containing CBD oil across state lines in the past several years.
Minnesota state law, however, does permit the sale of cannabis and CBD oil for medical purposes in limited circumstances. The Minnesota Department of Health has produced guidance documents for licensed healthcare providers regarding CBD oil.
Thirty states (and the District of Columbia) have adopted medical marijuana programs despite the federal ban. At this point, the Department of Justice is prohibited from prosecuting individuals and businesses complying with state cannabis laws. This legal protection is set to expire with the Rohrbacher-Blumenauer Amendment on December 8, 2017. The Amendment (formerly known as the Rohrbacher-Farr Amendment), prohibits federal funds from being used to prevent states from implementing their own laws that authorize the cultivation, distribution, and use of medical cannabis. The pending expiration of the Amendment leaves CBD oil (and medical cannabis) with an uncertain future.