Washington state bans processors from converting CBD to delta-9 THC

Twitter icon

The move is likely to come as a relief to cannabis cultivators, who have struggled to sell their crops for THC due to the significantly cheaper cost of converting hemp-derived CBD isolate.

Cannabis processing facilities in Washington state will be prohibited from converting hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) into delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for the legal market, according to a statement from the state’s regulatory body.

The Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) statement was publicized Friday to clear the air surrounding the state’s formerly-hazy laws regarding the legal status of delta-9 THC from hemp-derived CBD, according to a report from MJBizDaily.

The move is likely to come as a relief to cannabis cultivators, many of whom had been nervously awaiting the clarification after struggling to sell their crops for THC due to the significantly cheaper cost of converting hemp-derived CBD isolate. Hemp is classified as cannabis that contains less than 0.3 per cent THC, the intoxicating compound in the cannabis plant.

The decision was released as a result of a meeting of the Special Board Caucus last month, during which a board member expressed dismay at licensed processors opting to cheaply synthesize delta-9 THC from hemp-derived CBD.

The statement was authored by WSLCB staff along with council from the Washington state Attorney General’s office and is based around safe harbour law, a legal provision that provides protection and/or reduces liability.

In this case, the agency decided that cultivators have the right to a safe harbour for creating Delta-9 THC, but processors are not afforded the same right.

“The statutes do not authorize a licensed processor to source hemp-based product, such as legal CBD, and convert it to delta-9 THC, regardless of the method of production, nor are they licensed to process hemp into marijuana concentrate,” the WSLCB said in a statement. “As ‘conversion’ activity is not an identified privilege, it would not fall under the safe harbour protections.”

The agency intends to prioritize education over enforcement for the time being, although WSLCB Director of Enforcement Chandra Brady notes that future sanctions may involve warnings, notices to correct, and/or administrative holds against licence holders who fail to comply.

Regardless of state legislation, however, cannabis is classified by the DEA as a Schedule I drug and remains prohibited under federal law.

e-mail icon Facebook icon Twitter icon LinkedIn icon Reddit icon
Rate this article: