Colorado law group takes stand against DEA regarding CBD hemp oil

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DENVER -- Last week, the Drug Enforcement Agency said CBD oil is illegal, a schedule one substance, because it’s derived from marijuana or hemp. It said it’s something that has been on the books for a while.

Schedule one is the same category as heroin and LSD, but one Denver-based law firm wants the classification changed.

"On it's face, it seems like a benign act," said Robert Hoban, managing partner for the Hoban Law Group. "The simplest way is to say that the rule itself doesn't track the statute and accordingly, it's an invalid rule."

Hoban said there are two problems with the DEA’s definition of marijuana, both referring to how the controlled substance act deals with the drug.

First, he said not every part of a marijuana plant is illegal. Second is an issue with THC, the chemical that causes marijuana’s psychoactive effect. THC is illegal, but Hoban said CBD oil isn’t.

"The sky is not falling, but this is not some benign coding function either,” Hoban said. “At the end of the day, the DEA needs to sit down, read the Controlled Substances Act, read the farm bill and understand that what they're saying has practical implications on commerce and on patients around this country. That's not weight they should throw around so lightly."

Hoban intends to work with the DEA and lawmakers to diplomatically get the classification changed. If nothing changes, there likely will be a lawsuit.