Chart: 20% of hemp lots will exceed 0.3% THC limit next year, USDA estimates

In 2020, one in five lots of hemp will need to be destroyed because the plants exceed the legal THC limit, according to new estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

These USDA estimates are some of the figures outlined in Hemp Industry Daily’s new special report, “USDA Hemp Rules: A Handbook for Hemp & CBD Businesses,” which was released this week.

The free report outlines the contents of the USDA’s interim final rules regarding the establishment of a domestic hemp production program, which the agency released Oct. 31.

Within the report, the USDA estimates that 20% of hemp lots sent in for testing will test “hot,” or above the legal threshold of 0.3% THC content.

The USDA concedes that it isn’t possible to know in advance how much hemp will fail to meet the legal THC threshold.

But the agency said it arrived at this estimate “based on information discussions with states that have a hemp program under the 2014 Farm Bill.”

An upside to the agency’s new rules is that producers won’t be considered in negligent violation of the federal rules unless their hemp tests above 0.5% THC.

This means the producers would not be prosecuted for a federal crime if their hemp tested within the range of 0.3% to 0.5%.

However, all failing hemp must be destroyed and can’t be used in any way – even in states that allow both marijuana and hemp production.

Because cannabis grown as marijuana must be traced through a state’s seed-to-sale tracking system, producers will not be able to shift “hot” hemp to the marijuana channel.

Hemp farmers and industry advocates have expressed unease over the new testing rules, especially the requirement that only labs registered with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) would be qualified to test the THC levels of hemp.

Some are worried this requirement will create bottlenecks in the hemp supply chain, particularly in rural or remote areas.

Others have expressed concern that the DEA will be heavily involved in monitoring the hemp industry, particularly now that a law has been passed to promote legal hemp production.

Hemp Industry Daily’s new special report, “USDA Hemp Rules: A Handbook for Hemp & CBD Businesses,” is available as a free download here.

Maggie Cowee can be reached at [email protected]

11 comments on “Chart: 20% of hemp lots will exceed 0.3% THC limit next year, USDA estimates
  1. Pat Jack on

    “total THC” is the power phrase to use to promote clarity between the D9 ONLY testing requirement that states exercising their 2014 Farm Bill “legacy exemption” from “total THC USDA interim rules testing rules and regulations” may choose to exercise in the 2020 growing season, (TN, PA, etc.).

    That “legacy exemption” from “total THC” testing requirements is written into the 2018 Farm Bill, the exemption expires at midnight, local time, October 31, 2020. At that time, all states, regardless of whether they do not have a USDA approved state or tribal hemp plan, are operating under pre-existing 2014 Farm Bill regulations, or their states’ laws require only D9 testing, all entities will be held to the “total THC” testing requirement on the “legacy exemption” expiration date.

    We need to have clarity in the rapidly developing regulatory language of hemp cannabinoid testing requirements, “total THC” vs. “THC” promotes an unambiguous usage of language to describe regulatory testing requirements.

    It is best to use these two phrases to be absolutely clear: “total THC” or “D9 ONLY”, that leaves no room for doubt.

  2. Charles A. on

    Why do Federal hemp regulators not set their THC limits with more foresight and with more realistic expectations?
    I strongly believe a very reasonable and realistic THC limit for hemp would be at the very least 1.0%.
    Why on earth would they continue to allow farmers to waste equipment, money, labor, and precious resources (water, etc…) to just ultimately force farmers to destroy a perfectly good crop because of an unrealistic and trivial THC level?
    I also believe that the DEA has no business regulating the hemp industry at all, and any laboratory should be allowed to test hemp, as long as they are certified and qualified to do so. Why create a bottleneck scenario knowing well ahead of time that the DEA will not have the ability to handle all necessary testing demand for years to come?
    Please Federal Regulators use common sense and some logic here.
    Thank you.

  3. Daniel R. Ortega on

    They need to create a market for the help that is destroyed because it is above 0.5% I’m sure there’s some use for it what a waste.

  4. Leslie Davis on

    Charles A. is exactly correct and we should all support his position. For decades the hemp, cannabis, or whatever you want to call the crops, rules and regulations, have been absurd. Expecting the federal regulators to use common sense and logic defies logic.
    Earth Protector

  5. hempman on

    Until regulators get a clue on how the real world operates, hemp growers will be forced to waste capital and recourses simply because someone is scared of anyone getting “high” on THC. Any moron knows you can buy all the “high” you want in about any town in America and over seas. You can’t win the war on drugs by setting THC limits this low! CBD has no THC if it is extracted properly. Who cares If THC even reaches 1.0%? You still won’t get high smoking it!

  6. Terry Moran on

    The sampling techniques set by the USDA will help growers in states that have had tougher procedures to date. Managing a crop to stay compliant at times requires immediate harvesting. No, provisions are explained as to how the USDA plans to deal with this fact. Requiring all fields to be tested within two weeks of harvesting without allowing for harvest and later sampling is an oversight. All genetics in use from states that did not test for total THC concentrations should be avoided by growers going forward. The USDA rules as written are not enforceable and will cost an incredible amount of money to attempt to enforce. The Stranglehold on hemp continues, hurting American producers and driving production outside the country.

  7. Thomas Novobielski on

    I just cant believe people can or would trust our gov…the same guys throwing us in jail 10 yeara ago for a little pot are the same ones telling us we can have our records cleaned of such criminal charges. Now they want to ruin your business based off a centuries old botanist who even explained himself 0.3 was not intended to be a lawful limit. Yall ignorant af, make me sick

    • Jill Villal on

      You are so right.!!! They are criminal af.! I wish someone would take these people OUT.! Soros Kissinger Gates Turner the whole dam clan of them nasty evil murderous scum. God will get them in the end Vengence is mine saith the Lord.

  8. Matt on

    “However, all failing hemp must be destroyed and can’t be used in any way – even in states that allow both marijuana and hemp production.”

    “Because cannabis grown as marijuana must be traced through a state’s seed-to-sale tracking system, producers will not be able to shift “hot” hemp to the marijuana channel.”

    If this is true, Why, why are we shooting ourselves in the “di*ks” wasting valuable product. These backward a$$ policies are insane. This is absolute bulls* madness.

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