An amendment has been introduced by U.S. Senator, Rand Paul (R) KY, that would increase the legal THC amount for industrial hemp in the USA from 0.3 percent to a full 1.0 percent, following a global trend of several nations adopting higher THC legal levels.
Hemp stakeholders have long argued that the THC level of 0.3 percent is too low causing “hot” hemp or over-the-limit crops that must be destroyed. Like in California, where in some cases, “hot hemp” must be buried (or burned) by the grower as they pay, by the hour, for government officials to supervise this utterly tragic destruction. Plus, CBD rises in industrial hemp flower in direct relation to THC, so…higher THC levels are good for the CBD business. Which, if projections are correct, will bring in a prudent estimate of $2.4 billion tax dollars worldwide by 2023.
The idea is contained in an amendment to redefine hemp in the previous statute: The Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946. The Hemp Economic Mobilization Plan Act of 2020 or the HEMP Act 2020 has arrived on the floor.
“For years, I’ve led the fight in Washington to restore one of Kentucky’s most historically vital crops by legalizing industrial hemp. I am proud the bill has strong support…Read more here: “ paul.senate.gov/news/dr-rand-p a statement from the Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul’s Twitter account.
The MORE Act passed in the US House of Representatives, Dec. 7, 2020, in efforts to decriminalize cannabis by a vote of 228-164. In the eyes of those like The Last Prisoner Project there is now a glimmer of hope that it could pass in the Senate if Democrats pick up the two open Senate seats in an upcoming Georgia special election. If successful in the Senate, the new bill would cancel non-violent federal marijuana convictions.
Paul’s 2020 HEMP Act which also strives for victory within the Senate, will also set a margin of error based on the 1.0 percent THC limit. Such a tolerance standard has not yet been defined by either current legislation or the United States Department of Agriculture. The HEMP Act 2020 will also move testing from the plant itself for THC levels to the final product produced from hemp intended for the market.
The Trend Towards 1.0%
Based on a widely known study conducted in the 1970s on behalf of the International Association for Plant Taxonomy, Canadian plant scientists Ernest Small and Arthur Cronquist. The two scientists developed the current 0.3 percent barrier, effectively drawing a line between marijuana and industrial hemp, in 1987. Ernest Small has since acknowledged that his and Cronquist’s findings were highly subjective in establishing the marker between cannabis and hemp.
Before Uruguay broke ranks in 2013, the 0.3 percent THC cap was commonly observed around the world, placing the boundary between marijuana and hemp at 1.0 percent THC. Other nations, including South Africa, Malawi, Thailand, Ecuador, Mexico and Argentina, have followed suit with an increase. Some Australian states also work under a THC cap of 1.0%. Non-EU member Switzerland has a defined barrier of 1.0% for hemp THC and the cap has recently been raised from 0.2% to 0.3% THC in the European Union.
For some U.S. farmers, many of whom are confined to a 15-30 day harvesting window, sustaining 0.3 percent THC has been troublesome. Paul said current regulations do not anticipate the time it takes to harvest a crop, possible backlogs of lab testing, and environmental factors that can not be regulated by farmers. All these factors can influence the final levels of THC in cannabis when it is harvested from the field.