Opinion: Post-Election, Congress Must Fix Hemp THC Standards 

 November 6, 2020

By  Stratis Hemp

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The 2018 Farm Bill made the modern hemp industry possible, but left a great deal of room for improvement. Now, with two years of hands-on experience, it's time to improve the law, starting with raising THC limits.

The legal THC limit for hemp of 0.3% delta-9 THC as measured on a “dry weight basis,” is untenable. Advocates for raising the limit say the 0.3% standard is arbitrary and that data supports that cannabis does not reach its intoxicating potential at even 1% THC.

The 0.3% standard is famously rooted in a 1976 paper in which a Canadian researcher chose it as a demarcation for his research, noting in the his work that the threshold was chosen “arbitrarily.”

The Congressional Research Service, citing botanical research, acknowledged that “1% is considered the threshold for cannabis to have a psychotropic effect or intoxicating potential.”

The DEA itself has stated in agency guidance that THC tests are inconclusive if below 1%.

The United States changing current legislation to raise the legal standard to 1% THC would accelerate the growth of the industry in this country, and bring us into alignment with countries like Australia, Ecuador, and Switzerland, who all have thriving domestic hemp industries.

U.S. state officials estimate that the damage from implementing the current USDA provisions would be extraordinary, and that revising the THC limit to 1% would solve much of the problem.

Colorado estimates that if the USDA were to allow producers to use hemp between 0.3% and 1% in the supply chain, $789 million in direct farmgate value and $1.1 billion in total economic output would be preserved.

The problems do not stop at hemp farming. The measurement of 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis is dysfunctional in practice when applied to most intermediary and finished products, a glaring issue for businesses, consumers and enforcement.

Processors must navigate the legal uncertainty of what to do when legal hemp inevitably spikes above the 0.3% limit in the intermediary processing phase. In August, the DEA issued an interim final rule asserting regulatory authority over certain hemp extracts that inevitably exceed the 0.3% limit in the processing phase, despite such products meeting the 0.3% limit in their original and final forms.

Read the full article at https://hempindustrydaily.com

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