The USDA recently released a list of areas that they are seeking further feedback from the public on with regards to hemp.
They are looking for information on things like growing, harvesting, breeding and research, and more. And they've recently moved to open things up for a comment period on the subject. Some hope that this means down the road they will soon relax their hemp rules in the market.
Growing and Selling Hemp Products
Hemp and CBD products have risen dramatically in recent years with millions of people who have moved to try these products for the first time. Along the way there has been plenty of confusion, with many products in this market being destroyed and taken away, because of that confusion over the restrictions. There has also been difficulty following the restrictions because of the lack of technology available for law enforcement to differentiate CBD products from cannabis products with higher THC, etc. They can easily get them confused and they have in the past.
Hemp growing operations are underway all around the country, despite there still being federal restrictions on cannabis itself. But that might change in the next several years.
It has been a great learning curve for those involved and it is one that they hope will be clearer in the future for the hemp market.
In cases where they have been caught growing hemp that had too much thc, they had been traditionally ordered to destroy the plant. But that's a great waste of resources that could go to good use. Some in the industry are looking to change that now, by working with regulators.
"if there are situations where crops are not necessarily in full compliance we’re going to try and find ways to mitigate those crops so they can still be used and not have to destroy those crops.” - state horticulturalist G Fish.
Crop Testing Labs Popping Up
Now some hemp farmers in PA and other regions will be able to get their crops tested, to make sure that they pass federally approved levels before being allowed to sell that product to the market. They can get the product tested at various medical cannabis testing sites which have newly become available in recent years.
If they have grown anything that is found with 0.3% THC, in PA for example, then that crop would not be allowed, even though it's still an incredibly small amount of THC present. There is a tremendous amount of restriction that exists in the cannabis market, but hemp farmers in the meantime are hoping more testing facilities will pop up and that regulations will become clearer in the future so that they can work around the violence imposed by the state.
The average thc found in cannabis products today is roughly 12 percent.
If only 0.3 thc gets spotted once they've grown their hemp crop, it isn't isn't close to the average you would find in regular cannabis products around the United States today.
For growers, they say that sticking to this strict thc limitation for their crops is the worst part of the job for some.
“That’s the worst part of this job,...A lot of it’s very fun, but come September, October we start getting hot results back from the lab. When I say ‘hot results’ that means it’s gone above the allowable three-tenths of one percent,... We [are required] by law that it be disposed of in a manner that’s irretrievable and does not enter the stream of commerce and does not leave the registered land area.” - B. Koontz, hemp program manager with Colorado Department of Agriculture.
That is a great deal of plant material being destroyed that could have gone on to be used to help create thousands of different products and bring more economic prosperity to the region and to those farmers.
As state legislators and enforcers continue to struggle with how much violence they should inflict upon the public over this plant, it is liberty that suffers in the meantime. Yes, even people who had been 'following the law' while growing hemp have been penalized and suffered because of that confusion, that learning curve, that stigma over a plant.