Another Shot At Upping The USA’s Hemp THC Limit

Hemp Economic Mobilization Plan (HEMP) Act of 2021
Image: Erin_Hinterland

Legislation reintroduced to the U.S. Senate this week seeks to increase the maximum allowable level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in hemp.

While the 2018 Farm Bill legalised hemp in the USA at a federal level, it imposed a maximum level of 0.3% THC. In addition to greatly increasing the risk of crops being considered “hot”, resulting their destruction and farmers potentially facing criminal proceedings, it also put the industry behind jurisdictions in some other countries where the maximum level is 1%; for example in Western Australia.

Additionally, while the USDA’s final rule for hemp production released in January took into consideration some comments submitted regarding the interim final rule, several other particularly thorny issues remain.

This week, U.S. Senator Rand Paul reintroduced the Hemp Economic Mobilization Plan (HEMP) Act of 2021 that would tackle these issues.

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“My legislation will help this growing industry reach its full economic potential, and I am proud the bill has strong support all the way from local Kentucky farmers and activists to national groups,” said the Senator.

The bill seeks to:

  • amend the definition of “hemp” from 0.3 percent THC to 1 percent THC.
  • require testing of hemp-derived products rather than the hemp flower or plant itself, easing the burden on farmers.
  • reintroduce a “measurement of uncertainty” (MU) in testing of 0.075% as the baseline standard.
  • require that hemp shipments be accompanied by one of two easily accessible types of documentation.

The last point is to help prevent legal hemp from being seized during transport; something that has occurred quite often. This would also be of benefit to law enforcement as it would enable officers to more quickly determine if a producer is legitimate or that the hemp has already been laboratory certified.

Vote Hemp President Eric Steenstra welcomed the bill, stating it would enable critical improvements that will better enable farmers to successfully grow and profit from the crop.

Senator Paul’s HEMP Act of 2021 can be found here and background information, here.

On a related note, early last month the USA’s National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) formalised its support for increasing hemp maximum THC levels to 1%.