In an interview with Indiana’s WTHR, Drug Enforcement Agency spokesperson Rusty Payne admitted that while parents giving CBD oil to their children are violating federal law, it is unlikely they will face federal prosecution for their actions.
“WTHR: What would you tell the mom and dad who are buying this stuff and giving it to their kids because it helps them get through the day?
Payne: Am I speaking as a DEA spokesman or as a father? Because I am a dad. As a father?
Payne: I’d do the same exact thing — without hesitation. I cannot blame these people for what they’re doing. They are not a priority for us … it would not be an appropriate use of federal resources to go after a mother because her child has epileptic seizures and has found something that can help and has helped. Are they breaking the law? Yes, they are. Are we going to break her door down? Absolutely not. And I don’t think she’ll be charged by any U.S. Attorney.”
Yet, despite Payne’s opinion, he asserted that CBD marketing and sales still run afoul of federal law and “anybody who’s in violation always runs that risk of arrest and prosecution.” Yet, while many people argue that the 2014 Farm Bill protects the selling of products derived from industrial hemp, Payne maintains that the DEA believes the measure only protects CBD research.
However, Payne admitted that “people are not dying from CBD” and that the agency’s “biggest priority” was the national opioid crisis.
“According to the CDC, in 2015 we lost 52,000-plus Americans – 52,000 – and a good portion of those are from opioids: heroin, fentanyl, prescription drugs,” he said in the interview. “That has to be our priority right now. Not CBD.”
Payne’s comments come less than a week after another federal agency, the Food and Drug Administration, sent warning letters to four CBD companies demanding that they stop making claims that their products “prevent, diagnose or cure cancer.”
Despite Payne’s comments, the agency he represents continues to consider CBD a Schedule I drug with no medicinal value.