Hemp experts reveal surprising rescheduling impact

hemp THC rescheduling: american flag behind a board with a fan leaf on it

Cannabis rescheduling took the U.S. news cycle by storm last week following the DEA recommendation. The process of taking the plant from Schedule I to III will likely take one to four years with review from government offices, public comment, an administrative hearing, and more. With the long road ahead starting to form, much of the weed world is speculating on how the move may impact various sectors like hemp THC, delta-9, THCA, and the like.

RELATED: Burning cannabis rescheduling questions answered

The truth is that rescheduling shouldn’t have much impact on these developing hemp-derived markets for a few reasons. First, Schedule III won’t be official for some time. Secondly, these nationally available THC products maintain compliance through the 2018 Farm Bill, not the Fed. The 2018 Farm Bill expired in 2023 before being extended through September 2024, meaning an update may come out before the DEA process is complete.

Hemp THC and Schedule III

Shayda Torabi, president of the Texas Hemp Coalition and co-founder of hemp brand RESTART, is more keen on hearing Farm Bill amendments and updates on state bills regulating the market than rescheduling news. But one day, they may inform each other.

“Given the original framework and the recently released interim frameworks, it doesn’t appear that the possibility of rescheduling is impacting hemp THC as of now,” Torabi said in a statement shared with GreenState. “In fact, I think hemp THC could be a possible pathway for operators in the adult-use market who would be negatively affected by rescheduling marijuana to Schedule III.”

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Glenn T. Thompson (R-PA) introduced an overview of the new bill to the group in early May. Markups to this edition are scheduled for May 23rd. Other members of the committee have been quick to point out “poison pill policies” that make sinking the bill easy, like cuts to nutrition assistance budgets.

Farm Bill answers aren’t due to come for some time, but the final version is nearer than Schedule III. The final deadline for a new bill is September 2024, until then, Torabi’s theory that the hemp THC industry marks an interesting view. The two spaces may play into each other eventually.

Making the jump from state-regulated weed to hemp

Many popular state-regulated cannabis brands have made the jump to hemp-derived pot products in the last year. Most are seeking opportunities after being stifled by over-regulation, hefty taxation, and more in regulated markets.

Latin cannabis and lifestyle brand Mesobis previously only sold its Gomitas in California but recently took them nationwide with hemp-derived THC. With rescheduling possibly on the horizon, GreenState asked CEO and co-founder Nelson Cury how the brand feels about the upcoming process now that the new line has dropped. Like Torabi, his attention isn’t on rescheduling—it’s on the Farm Bill.

RELATED: Experts reveal marijuana rescheduling predictions, worries, and woes

“That bill will dictate the next five years of hemp THC at the federal level, and it may or may not rewrite the definition of hemp,” Cury said. “As far as rescheduling goes, besides the removal of the 280E tax, I don’t believe anyone knows what rescheduling for cannabis actually means. Therefore, it seems quite early to me to be taking any actions or implementing any procedures as the jury is still out on what rescheduling will actually do.”

The moral of the story? Hemp THC likely won’t be directly impacted by the rescheduling recommendation any time soon. The news was big, but that doesn’t mean it directly touches every part of the space. For now, all hemp eyes are on the Farm Bill markup. However, the federal government will likely take interest in the space eventually.

Money talks, even in weed

When all is said and done with the government, money always talks. Cannabis lawyer Thomas Howard represents Illinois brands for Collateral Base. He believes that the state and the Fed will seek to regulate hemp-THC to recoup the profit in the form of taxes.

“You can ignore the cannabinoids all you want, but the states that legalize it are not because of taxes. In the end, the Fed will figure out their cut, the state’s cut, and the regulations for access to psychoactive cannabinoids, whether they are natural or made in a lab, from hemp, or chemistry,” Howard said.

For now, the Farm Bill has the power over hemp THC operators, but Howard has a point. Those following the space may sense the clock counting down on the freedom and ease with which the sector operates.

There’s much unknown for those manufacturing delta-9, hemp THC, and other Farm Bill-dependent products. However, one thing is for certain: very few brands seem concerned about rescheduling as it relates to their operations. To them, it’s Farm Bill or bust.

Cara Wietstock is senior content producer of GreenState.com and has been working in the cannabis space since 2011. She has covered the cannabis business beat for Ganjapreneur and The Spokesman Review. You can find her living in Bellingham, Washington with her husband, son, and a small zoo of pets.