American cannabis growers could begin to buy and sell seeds from other parts of the country—and from beyond their own states’ borders—without worry of breaking any federal laws, according to clarifications made about the legality of marijuana seeds in a recently discovered letter from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
The unearthed letter essentially states that while marijuana is a controlled substance at the federal level, cannabis seeds, tissue culture, and “other genetic material” containing less than 0.3% THC are considered to be federally legal hemp and, therefore, transportable across state lines.
The letter, which was first reported April 7 by Marijuana Moment online reporter Kyle Jaeger, was the direct outcome of a recent DEA review of federal statute and implementing regulations as prompted by an Nov. 18 inquiry from attorney Shane Pennington asking for clarification on the control status of cannabis seeds.
Affirmed in the federal agency’s letter was the DEA’s stance on the legality of marijuana seeds. The DEA said that while cannabis seeds were once considered a controlled substance, they lost that classification once hemp was legalized under the Controlled Substances Act. Pennington had discussed the federal legalization of hemp in an Apr. 7 edition of his On Drugs newsletter on Substack.
In a blog post published on April 4, Pennington stated that whether or not a particular sample of any cannabis-derived material is a controlled substance does not depend on the sample’s source, which effectively kills the Source Rule. The analysis, Pennington said, depends entirely on whether the sample contains more than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis. If the sample does, it’s Schedule I marijuana, he said, adding, “Otherwise, it’s hemp.”
John DiBella is a medical marijuana advocate, owner of The Sanctuary Wellness Institute, and a writer. When he’s not writing blogs about medical marijuana, he enjoys hiking, camping and sailing.