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Petition Pushing For Higher Permitted Hemp THC Levels

The U.S hemp community has been urged to get cracking on signing a petition calling for the legal definition of hemp to be changed to allow for 1% THC.

Under the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp is defined as cannabis not containing more than 0.3 percent of the intoxicating cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). How that percentage was arrived at, which was apparently set by a Canadian cannabis researcher way back in the 1970s, is somewhat a mystery given even at much higher levels industrial hemp still wouldn’t have any recreational value.

The 0.3% limit has cause headaches for the industry as hemp testing above that level must be destroyed. For example, we mentioned yesterday half of Hawai’i’s 2019 hemp crop was destroyed due to elevated THC levels.

Staying below the .3% limit can be somewhat a mixture of science and good luck; particularly where crops are being grown for the extraction of another cannabinoid, cannabidiol. Policy and advocacy group Vote Hemp says the 0.3% level must be boosted to 1% – and fast.

“It is not fair to producers to who are already struggling due to difficult market conditions, to risk losing their hemp crop due to it testing slightly above the current federal limit of 0.3%,” said Vote Hemp President Eric Steenstra.

Mr. Steenstra says a limit of 1% would result in very few crops grown as hemp being destroyed and provide valuable time while the industry works on developing more stable varieties.

VoteHemp notes it  had advocated for a higher level previously, but comprises needed to be made in order to get final legislation relating to the 2018 Farm Bill over the line – and that compromise simply isn’t working out. There’s some added urgency to the initiative.

“We hope to submit as many signatures as we can in the next 30 days, and encourage all members of the hemp community to sign and share the petition with their friends, colleagues and co-workers,” said Mr. Steenstra.

Some other countries, or jurisdictions within, allow for 1% THC. An example is here at home in Western Australia, where back in 2018 the level was boosted from .35% to 1% – and that’s even though hemp can’t be grown for cannabidiol extraction in Western Australia under that state’s program.

The petition can be accessed here.

Steven Gothrinet
Steven Gothrinet has been part of the Hemp Gazette in-house reporting team since 2015. Steven's broad interest in cannabis was initially fueled by the realisation of industrial hemp's versatility across multiple sectors. You can contact Steve here.

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